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Michael Hiltzik: Should you believe the vaccine mandates will cause mass resignations? Probably not

Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

Of course, now, what with the Pfizer vaccine having received formal approval from the Food and Drug Administration and the federal government accepting no substitutes for healthcare workers getting the shots, the 153 Houston workers who quit rather than get vaccinated may have to go scraping for jobs.

In any case, the hospital says that the 153 resigning or fired workers represented about 0.6% of the hospital's nearly 25,000 employees.

Reports from news sources and social media reflect a similar order of magnitude, or less. The most prominently reported case involves Lewis County General Hospital in rural upstate New York. There, the resignations of six employees and the possibility that seven others would refuse to get vaccinated will force the hospital to temporarily "pause" maternity services starting next week, according to hospital officials.

This will cause an inconvenience for the community but probably not a crisis. The hospital delivers about 200 babies a year, well below the state average of more than 1,000 or the national average of almost 600. Hospitals with functioning maternity departments are 15 and 30 miles away.

The hospital administrators say about 20 of their unvaccinated clinical staffers have resigned since New York state imposed a vaccine mandate on healthcare workers, but 73% of the health system's 650 employees are vaccinated. That's a better rate than in the region as a whole: Lewis County's overall vaccination rate of 40% is among the lowest in the state.

The county also has the highest COVID test positivity rate in the state, officials said. The region has had a problem finding professional staff for its healthcare facilities for a long time, possibly due to its remoteness.

 

The other big yarn making its way around the internet concerns a Lt. Col. Paul Douglas Hague, who is supposedly a 19-year veteran stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

According to a letter purportedly sent to his superiors and tweeted out by a woman who says she's his wife, Katie Phipps Hague, the Army officer is resigning his commission to protest the "unlawful, unethical, immoral, and tyrannical order to sit still and allow a serum to be injected into my flesh against my will and better judgment."

The letter goes on to grouse at "an ideologically Marxist takeover of the military and United States government at their upper echelons."

A few points about this:

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