The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging here in the United States, but there is a crushing blow waiting on the horizon to bring some normalcy back to our lives.
Several major pharmaceutical manufacturers have announced great success in their COVID-19 vaccine trials over the course of the last few weeks, and the FDA is now working overtime to provide these companies with the emergency use authorization necessary to get the inoculation out to the people. This will be a massive undertaking, however, and could take months to complete – even at warp speed.
But there’s another issue at play here as well: Less than 60% of Americans appear to be willing to receive the vaccine, and it is believed that over 70% will need to be vaccinated for any sort of effective immunity to occur.
That is why one New York assemblyman is pushing for a heavy-handed approach to deployment.
A New York lawmaker has proposed mandating vaccination against COVID-19 if not enough residents voluntarily get the shot once it is available.
Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, who represents parts of Manhattan’s West Side, earlier this month introduced a bill that would require the state to “safely and effectively” distribute an FDA-approved vaccine “in accordance with the department [of health]’s COVID-19 vaccination administration program,” according to the language of the legislation.
“While steps have been taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19, epidemiologists and public health experts have concluded that a vaccine will be necessary to develop herd immunity and ultimately stop the spread of the disease,” the bill’s support memo states. “[T]he State must make efforts to promote vaccination and ensure that a high enough percentage of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19 to develop sufficient immunity.”
Once the vaccination program has been rolled out for a while, the Department of Health would have the authority to “mandate vaccination” to anyone who can “safely receive the vaccine” if public health officials see that New Yorkers aren’t developing “sufficient immunity from COVID-19.”
The move would certainly be controversial.
Americans have been engaged in a number of heated arguments regarding governmental overreach in the face of the coronavirus crisis, particularly as it pertains to the possible mandating of facial coverings meant to prevent the spread of the virus. An inoculation regulation would almost certainly receive similar backlash.
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