— It’s time for bolder solutions

by Vinay Prasad

Like most healthcare professionals, I am worried about unvaccinated adults. Currently, just shy of 50% of Americans have been fully vaccinated, and there is a sizable percentage of adults — even older adults — who remain unvaccinated. These people are taking tremendous personal risk of getting severely ill from SARS-CoV-2, and we must consider bold and innovative tactics to overcome their access issues and hesitancy.

Yet, each day on Twitter and in the op-ed pages of the news, I read more and more calls for force to be applied. We have seen suggestions for vaccine passports — used at movie theaters, restaurants, sporting events, and bars. We have seen calls to ban unvaccinated individuals from attending colleges or universities. Finally, many have asked private employers to issue vaccine mandates, and fire workers who don’t comply. The federal government has issued a vaccine mandate, but federal employees who are unvaccinated can remain employed if they undergo testing, masking, and distancing requirements. Some have said this doesn’t go far enough, and their employment should be contingent on vaccination. Finally, most recently, some have cited Supreme Court precedent that would lay the grounds for the federal government to mandate vaccination, under threat of fine or worse (notably the CDC director says this won’t happen).

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