Mandate? What mandate?
Hearing from people in multiple industries that companies have basically already given up on forcing employee vaccinations. Also, an update on the Xi (I mean Omicron, silly me!) variant
Robin Williams famously joked that when British police (who are mostly unarmed) see a criminal running away, they yell:
“Or I’ll stay stop again!”
Something similar seems to be happening with big companies in the wake of the 5th Circuit’s stay of the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate requirement. I have now heard from several people that they have either submitted requests for exemptions and heard nothing back or been given helpful advice on how to be approved. Others have simply ignored their employers’ deadlines and faced no penalties.
With discontent over the mandate high and rising, the job market tight, and a good chance the Supreme Court will strike down the Biden rule before it ever takes effect, the fact employers are slow-walking enforcement shouldn’t surprise anyone. The mess over boosters only makes matters worse. Companies will surely not want to be in the position of having this fight with employees every six months.
The failure of the mandates is obvious in the data around first-time vaccinations - even their imminent arrival could not raise the levels of first doses in the United States to more than about 500,000 a day on average. And they are starting to slide again.
This chart is even grimmer than it appears for vaccine fanatics, though. The great vaccination push took place February through May.
But with mRNA vaccines falling to near-zero efficacy against infection six months after the second dose, the United States is now likely moving away from vaccine-generated herd immunity. Lockdowns are off the table, so we will have to get there the old-fashioned way, with natural infection and recovery. (Assuming the vaccines don’t interfere with that process, an open question.)
Of course, if the health authoritarians can scare the scareable into getting boosters, they can hold off the inevitable for maybe four months or so. That delay will take us through the winter, just long enough to avoid really hideous year-over-year comparisons that will make even the most doe-eyed wonder exactly what any of this has been for.
Ladeees and yentlemen, I give you Omicron!