Hospitals Abandon Covid-19 Vaccine Requirement to Ease Staffing Shortages

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

Following a November decision by a federal court in Louisiana blocking Biden’s mandate of Covid-19 vaccines for health care workers, some hospitals have dropped their vaccine requirements, in a bid to ease severe labour shortages, according to today’s Wall Street Journal, Some Hospitals Drop Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates to Ease Labor Shortages.

These hospital chains include Advent Health, the Cleveland Clinic, HCA Healthcare Inc, Intermounain Healthcare, and Tenet Healthcare Corp. Per the WSJ:

…Labor costs in the industry have soared, and hospitals struggled to retain enough nurses, technicians and even janitors to handle higher hospitalizations in recent months as the Delta variant raged. Vaccine mandates have been a factor constraining the supply of healthcare workers, according to hospital executives, public-health authorities and nursing groups.

Many hospitals already struggled to find workers, including nurses, before the pandemic. The shortages were compounded by burnout among many medical workers and the lure of high pay rates offered to nurses who travel to hot spots on short-term contracts.

Large numbers of nurses, in particular, have voted with their feet, opting to quit or be fired, rather than get jabbed. The WSJ reports:

More recently, thousands of nurses have left the industry or lost their jobs rather than get vaccinated. As of September, 30% of workers at more than 2,000 hospitals across the country surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were unvaccinated.

“It’s been a mass exodus, and a lot of people in the healthcare industry are willing to go and shop around,” said Wade Symons, an employee-benefits lawyer and head of consulting firm Mercer’s U.S. regulatory practice. “If you get certain healthcare facilities that don’t require it, those could be a magnet for those people who don’t want the vaccine. They’ll probably have an easier time attracting labor.”

Some hospital executives have applauded the federal court’s decision to void the mandate. According to the WSJ:

“I don’t think the mandates were helpful and I think the court in Louisiana did everyone a service,” said Alan Levine, chief executive officer of Ballad Health, which runs 21 hospitals in Tennessee and Virginia.

Mr. Levine said his company has about 14,000 employees, some 2,000 of whom are unvaccinated or didn’t request an exemption to the requirement. “That many people having to be terminated would have been devastating to our system,” Mr. Levine said.

In spite of dropping their vaccine mandates, some hospitals continue to urge their staff to get vaccinated, according to the Journal:

“We continue to strongly encourage our colleagues to be vaccinated as a critical step to protect individuals from the virus,” HCA spokesman Harlow Sumerford said. He said a majority of HCA’s roughly 275,000 employees are fully vaccinated.

Not all hospitals have eliminated their vaccine requirements. Kaiser Permanente and Northwell Health continue to require Covid-19 vaccinations and have fired staff who refuse to comply. Per the WSJ:

Not all hospital systems have scratched the mandate. Kaiser Permanente, which runs 39 hospitals and hundreds of medical offices in California and other states and employs nearly 210,000 people, said it gave employees until Dec. 1 to get vaccinated. So far, 98% of staff are vaccinated, but on Wednesday the hospital system terminated 352 employees, and another 1,500 face termination in early January unless they become fully vaccinated or receive an exemption, Kaiser said.

Northwell Health, New York state’s largest healthcare provider with 77,000 employees, said its mandate remains in place. In October, Northwell told The Wall Street Journal that 1,400 employees had been terminated for refusing to get vaccinated.

I assume that given the tight health care labour market, most of those terminated have been able to find new jobs. But that may depend on where these workers are located. Some states have imposed vaccine requirements, and health care workers must still comply with local laws. Given the nationwide shortage of health care workers, the possibility is I suppose open for those who don’t want to get jabbed to relocate accordingly.

Hospitals that have suspended vaccine requirements following the federal court decision have implemented additional safety measures to attempt to stem Covid-19 disease transmission between staff and patients:

The Cleveland Clinic, which has 19 hospitals in Ohio and Florida and about 65,000 U.S. employees, and Utah hospital giant Intermountain Healthcare also said they would suspend vaccine requirements following the courts’ actions. The Cleveland Clinic said it would add safety measures, such as periodic testing for unvaccinated employees who care for patients. Intermountain said 98% of its workforce had complied with the federal mandate. [Jerri-Lynn here: my emphasis.]

The highlighted phrase suggests that, even at this late stage of the pandemic,  U.S. health care workers aren’t tested regularly for Covid-19 as a matter of course. And further that the testing question is left up to the hospital – or individual – to decide. If that’s indeed the practice, that strikes me as insane – especially given that we know even vaccinated people can pass along the disease (not to mention, catch it themselves), sometimes without exhibiting any symptoms and therefore, having no awareness they’re infected. Shouldn’t all health care employees, whether or not vaccinated, be tested periodically?

I linked today to a Guardian article about the UK’s shortage of certain types of home test kits, No more lateral flow home test kits available, says NHS England. I’m also aware of White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s gaffe last week about rapid test kits, Jen Psaki Accidentally Tells the Truth About How Expensive Covid Rapid Tests Are in U.S.. But surely, the testing regimen for health care workers is different. Surely?

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    1. Ape Man

      And we are paying a heavy price for that. The hospital that I used to work at and All others that I am aware of have had to shut down units and reduce services as a result. Media has been dishonest about talking about the reason why because they only count the people fired and not those who quit ahead of time. Most of the nurses I am aware of either left the state or left the industry. New York is going to be hurting for a long time to come.

  1. saywhat?

    Meh. What would healthcare workers know about their relative risks of Covid vs the current “vaccines?”

    Oh, wait …

    Hopefully, we’ve reached a Stalingrad moment. I used to scoff at suggestions that Nuremberg trials are in the future for vaccine mandators but based on the damage I’m reading about, I’m now patiently waiting for them. Pity their victims though, especially the young and trusting …

  2. flora

    Following the flyover discussion: Dem party is seen as responsible for loss of small manufacturing (NAFTA) in the midwest, loss of price supports and farm income in flyover, and now mandates creating… ta da… losses in healthcare availability, especially in hospitals. All of these losses fall hardest on working people.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      NAFTA fell hard on working people. Ag commodity price supports are commonly a different story nowadays, however, with federal money mostly funneled to large corporate entities, landowners (commonly corporate in organizational structure, even when private) and into the hands of local notables.

      I realize it’s likely different in parts of the high plains. However, in the intermontane west federal subsidies to ranching do not much impact the livelihoods of the bulk of the people in the small cities and towns of northern Nevada. They mainly work for mining companies, service companies like surveyors or drillers who serve than industry, and organizations like banks, BLM offices, hospitals, chiropractors, Walmart…. that serve as infrastructure for that economy.

      As Amfortas concisely described this weekend, there is a well organized, interconnected web of mind benders who see to it that ‘heartland’ people stay enraged by every wrong elite Dems commit irrespective of whether the wrong actually affects them).

      In point of fact, it’s usual some man who drives a truck that’s way more expensive than mine who throws all these things together when harshing on Democrats. That truck commonly sports a blue line flag sticker on the back window, or bumper — in places where urban ghetto violence is seen only in movie theaters. Pointing the finger only at establishment Dems for all this is no longer honest or accurate. They are undoubtedly corrupt and haughty. But, the intense hatred of them today among people with these affiliations owes more to incessant propaganda than actual Dem perfidy.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        FluffytheObeseCat — I know precisely the type of truck guy you mean. The “Back The Blue” black-striped (I know the word is over-used, but the imagery really does feel fascist, very interwar Europe) US flag [sic]* decal is of course a precisely correct touch, as well.

        The thing that I fear many Dissenting Lefties (by which I mean mainly Berniecrats and our fellow travelers) miss is precisely this social stratum, that is to say, the petite bourgeoise in the classic sense — owners of shops, or paving companies, or contracting/construction businesses, often inherited, like my own cousins have. They are not, on the whole, angry at the Dems for the same reason we are; they really do think Bernie is Che Guevara, they are rabidly anti-Communist and cannot tell the difference between FDR and Mao. They are different than the average wage-earner who may have found Trump appealing. In my experience, the petite bourgeois stratum is both materially opposed to social democracy/democratic socialism, and is extremely propagandized.** The kind of people who on community social media pages insist on turning a local student’s request for help with a research paper into a litany of bizarre, ill-informed diatribes and chants of “Let’s Go Brandon!”

        They are bad news, and they are getting wilder, full of what Hunter S. Thompson once called “bad craziness.”

        *I never understand why this is not seen as dishonoring the flag…..

        ** Again, it’s not that the professional class is not propagandized by the New York Times, MSNBC et al.; they absolutely are. In general this petit bourgeoisie is infected by a far more overtly far-right propaganda, rather than milquetoast liberal intellectual-fad-du-jourism that you have in the professional class.

        1. Kilgore Trout

          Agreed. For evidence of this in NH, one should take a look at “Granite Grok”, a far-right blog that bills itself as “libertarian” and ‘evangelical”, and that took off when the Tea Party appeared, and has enjoyed a further boost since Trump and now the pandemic. Those who blog and comment routinely label their opponents–anyone to their left, including the governor–as Marxists and communists. It’s a hive of climate science denial and “free market”, propertarian drivel.

          1. workingclasshero

            Dems kneeling down to blm and pandering to the De fund civilisation didn’t help,then throw in russiagate and possibly ineffective mask mandates and shutdowns of businesses (in retrospect).I was a pro labor democrat since i was old enough to understand political thought in the 1960’s,no longer a registered democrat as a protest gesture.

        2. David B Harrison

          Everything thing you said in this comment rings true,
          . I live in south central KY and the old money gentry and the nouveau riche gentry own and run the entire socioeconomic system. Their politics is right wing libertarian. Gentrification is also taking place with right wing libertarians moving in. You here all this talk about how bad billionaires are but nobody talks about the petit bourgeois right wing millionaires and thousandaires that run a large portion of the country. Refusal to confront their power(and make no mistake at possibly 22 million millionaires in America they are powerful) is why positive change never wins in America.This is a reply to swamp yankee.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            Thanks, Kilgore Trout and David B Harrison. It’s like the old music hall song — “It’s the syme the whole world over!” Or at least the whole country over.

            There’s gentrification here, as well, which is just as deleterious in rural and/or small town areas as in the cities. Retiree colonies that include huge number of precisely the type of propertarian greedheads you both describe, who do things like insist (arbitrarily!) that the school dept. (in which they have no kids) cut 50 million USD from its budget …. Because FREEDOM!!!!

            They are truly a problem for actual, on-the-ground political change.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        In Maine we just voted down a measure that would have used the state as a throughway for powerlines to bring Canadian power to Massachusetts. When the vote came through strongly opposed to the powerlines, our Democrat governor, a strong proponent of the project, suggested that the company stop construction while all this was worked out in the courts. She couldn’t bring herself to force them to stop, and I’m quite sure she will be favoring the power company when it all goes to court now. And if I had to bet, I would say the courts will overturn the will of the voters and side with big business, since that’s what they almost always do.

        In the rural areas where the Trump crowd lives (which is most of Maine) there were plenty of political signs up against this project supported by the governor. This is an area where you see cars up on cinderblocks and houses with collapsing porches nobody has the money to fix, and the people there were being asked to support a measure that would make the foreign owners of the power company rich while the residents got no benefits and saw their countryside despoiled. Pretty sure it was actual, and not imagined, Dem perfidy that made them put up those signs.

      3. Nikkikat

        Respectfully, I am from a blue state. Everyone hates the democrats myself included. We are fortunate to have 3rd parties there. Most of my friends have been long time democrats from the first time they voted. None of us vote Democrat now. No one in my family will vote for democrats now. Each of us dropped out of the party for a variety of reasons. Nafta, Obamacare, war mongering, bank bailouts, there is a lot to hate democrats for but mostly like my brother says it’s their constant lying. Running campaigns full of lies. At least a Republican honestly says he won’t do anything for you. He is not going to run on things that he has no intention of doing.

  3. saywhat?

    An Oxford University study published on Monday found that two-dose COVID-19 vaccines generate a lower antibody response against the omicron strain, suggesting that the variant could lead to more infections among the fully vaccinated and previously infected. from

    Note that the study was only of those who had been vaccinated – not the unvaccinated who had been previously infected.

    So “suggesting that the variant could lead to more infections among the fully vaccinated and previously infected” is pure speculation as far as the previously infected are concerned.

    And wouldn’t it be an entirely plausible and embarrassing hoot if the fully vaccinated are the MOST susceptible to omicron?

    1. Objective Ace

      Only reading the abstract and not the whole paper, I take this to mean lower then against Delta. Not lower against Ominicron than someone else also against Omincron

    2. jinn

      saywhat? wrote this:
      generate a lower antibody response against the omicron strain, suggesting that the variant could lead to more infections among the fully vaccinated and previously infected
      Was there ever any evidence that the vaccines used in the US gave those who are vaccinated protection against infection? Its my understanding that this was always just a supposition. The supposition goes like this: since we have evidence that vaccines provide a benefit by reducing severe illness and death then therefore the vaccines must also be providing the benefit of reducing infection and if the reduce infection that means they must also reduce transmission.

      There is a doctor in South Africa (Dr Shankara Chetty) who has come up with the theory that the SARS2 viral illness itself is no more dangerous to humans than the flu. He believes that what causes serious illness and death is an hyper-sensistive reaction to the debris left behind after the virus has run its course (about one week). As with most other allergies only some of the population are allergic. Also as with other severe allergies if it is not recognized as an allergic reaction and treated as such the outcomes can be fatal, but if treated appropriately the out come is not severe.

      Specifically, Dr. Chetty has concluded that the hyper-sensitivity reaction must be a reaction to the spike protein. Dr Chetty’s theory is that the reason the vaccines reduce serious illness and death is because they desensitize the vaccinated to this allergen. However, this comes at a cost since the vaccines have side effects which include death.

      1. Basil Pesto


        hundreds (thousands?) of papers analysed here over nearly two years explaining how covid works. Do you have something better than an online video (the Gish Galloper’s friend) that runs for 1h23m?

      2. Yves Smith

        Quackery not allowed here.

        The morbidity effects of Covid are wide-ranging and include higher risk of cancer and brain impairment, on top of long Covid.

    3. jimmy cc

      Republicans lie all the time.

      how much effort did Trump put into ‘locking her up’ ?

      biden is a socialist.
      covid is a Democrat hoax.
      blm is marxist.

      the Republicans seem to enjoy thier lies a little more than the democrats do.

      the Republicans are so good at lying that they just crowd source it now thru their social media.

      the repubs ha e no redeeming value either

    4. Peter VE

      About a week back, Dr. Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, said: “the mutations we see with omicron are in parts of the virus where our vaccines usually work – the parts of the spike protein where our vaccines work. That’s where we’re seeing the mutations and that’s what’s concerning many of us.” I believe he is implying that the Omicron variation evolved in the vaccinated population, which suggests the jabbed are at greater risk from Omicron.
      Providence Journal, 2021-12-4, p A-2

  4. Nikkikat

    These hospitals are heavily subsidized by the govt. thru Obama care. The pandemic gave them even more money. All the PPE that they should have been supplying to their employees was again paid for by the govt. If they don’t have any workers, perhaps they should being paying more. Maybe, some of these people that left because of the mandate would have stayed if nurses were not so poorly paid. This is healthcare for profit and Wall Street owns them. The Tenet group mentioned in the article is a huge wall street investment firm. This group took over 5 hospital in one county in California. I and other people I know that have had to go to any of these hospitals will never go back there again. I told husband that even if I was bleeding out, do not take me to one of their hospitals.

  5. marku52

    It’s happening here in SW OR. We have two hospital chains, Asante, and Providence. Asante requires the vax. Providence does not, and is happily talking up the nurses and staff they are poaching from Asante.

  6. Arizona Slim

    I predicted that this mandate would collapse by Christmas. Looks like I’m a tad ahead of schedule.

    1. jinn

      In order for a vaccine mandate to make sense it has to be of general benefit to the public. If the vaccine does not stop the spread then the argument that it is for the general welfare falls apart.
      The vaccine makers have only claimed they have evidence that the vaccines protect the vaccinated from serious illness and death but have not shown evidence that it protects anybody else.

  7. ynot

    “such as periodic testing for unvaccinated employees who care for patients”
    apparently they never got the news that it is not just the unvaccinated who can be infected. Sheesh. We are doing our best to FAIL at this.
    And no wonder: it is profitable

  8. Robert Antonucci

    There’s something missing from the discussion of relaxing mandates to get more workers. I teach at a university with a mandate for faculty and students. if they didn’t have it, they’d have lost me. you have to take that into account obviously yet I’ve never seen it done.

    I think science-oriented people like me are more willing to come in WITH a mandate.

    1. Yves Smith

      Do you not understand that others getting vaccinated helps them, not you? Your position is the antithesis of scientific.

      The vaccines did reduce contagion somewhat for the wild type virus. They do not or at best only do so marginally for Delta.

      1. The CDC published that it found that the nasal viral load for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals was the same

      2. A large scale, peer reviewed study found zero correlation between vaccination rates and Covid case levels

      3. There have been big Covid surges in countries with high (as in >90%) vax rates: Israel, Ireland, Iceland, Gibraltar

      To be protected you need to wear a N95 mask when around people and insist on good ventilation. And you get vaccinated to protect yourself. Demanding that others vax and then think that means it’s safe to go unmasked is sheer delusion.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’ve seem multiple times various commentators – including people who have been generally on the right side of the scientific arguments on Covid – repeating the mantra that vaccines protect everyone. When I’ve challenged people on this, I’ve usually (when not ignored or blocked) got a response along the line of ‘well, yes, the vaccinated still can infect others, but the virus load is significantly reduced’ or something similar.

        What I would honestly like to know is whether they actually believe this, or whether it has become a mantra you have to repeat if you want to stay within the overton window and be listened to on what they maybe consider to be more important issues, like ventilation.

        1. Yves Smith

          Our GM has challenged people at his uni, including top scientist who’ve written seminal papers on closely related topics, and they react just the same way. One even said something pretty close to “I don’t want to hear any more gloomy talk.” They are deeply invested in vaccines at The Triumph of Science, they rescued uni finances by getting students back. They even now reject the idea of wearing masks at meetings or cancelling parties!

          So yes, they really do believe it. Which is worse.

          So how will they rationalize this during the Omicron wave? They’ve bought into the same bad belief and habits as pols, celebrities, and wacky right wingers: that not wearing masks is a sign of virtue, that they can do so because they are vaxxed.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            The Irish science advisory body now seems to be doubling down on boosters, but only recommending limited restrictions on pre-Christmas parties. So they’ve joined the crew of too little, too late, but we have boosters so it doesn’t matter.

            I’ve said it here before, but I do think that in the future many books and PhD’s are going to be written in the future about the collapse of rational decision making and the new forms of rampant scientific biases raised by Covid. I’m particularly fascinated by the number of scientific specialists who have lost all touch with reality. From the virologist who brought Covid to Russia via her Spanish holiday to the cardiologists who seem to have created a superspreader event in London, there are literally dozens of examples. I’ve been appalled at the personal behaviour of some people I know (scientists/doctors) who have absolutely no excuse – their justification seems to be ‘I’m an expert, therefore I don’t have to follow the rules’ as they zip off on trips to London and Spain in the middle of a pandemic.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I’d forgotten about that virologist bringing Covid back to the Crimea but I remember another example. Just as the pandemic was kicking off, an ocean cruiser set off for South America (I think) and aboard were scores of doctors and dentists as part of an onboard convention who you think would know a thing or two about medical matters. Yeah, they got stuck at sea as did many other ocean lines. You talk about scientists losing contact with reality but what I remember most from the first year was doctors going onto TV to talk about this new virus – but who spent more time talking about the economy than they did talking about medical matters. Both amazing and disturbing this, at the same time.

        2. Basil Pesto

          What I would honestly like to know is whether they actually believe this, or whether it has become a mantra you have to repeat if you want to stay within the overton window and be listened to on what they maybe consider to be more important issues, like ventilation.

          Gosh, it’s not quite the same as your example but I wrote about this possible phenomenon at some length a couple of weeks ago regarding boosters. Like, confirmed non-idiots who weren’t having any of “Omicron is mild”, who recognise the importance for other interventions, but who nevertheless stressed the importance of bringing boosters forward immediately from 6 months to 2. I mean, maybe? But even if they do help somehow, we don’t need these vaccines to control this virus, and we have already proven this, so why foreground them like this? Intellectually, I don’t really get their position unless it’s as you say – stanning for the vaccines remains the cost of doing opinion-having business. But I also think they’re true believers to an extent as well. But maybe they know something I don’t? idk. my head just hurts at this point.

      2. Robert Antonucci

        “Do you not understand” – you assume you speak for God and can just make declarative statements when a difference of opinion arises, then prove you point with cherrypicked facts.

        “is the antithesis of scientific” again playing God should be against the rules.

        all of the next 3 arguments are off-point or cherry-picked data.

        I’ve been a very successful research scientist for decades, yet you know better what is scientific and what is not only delusion but shear delusion.

        you continually trample your own rules. I guess you’ll ban me again.

        your entire answer is off point anyway. I didn’t address the arguments for my refusal to teach 300 jammed in students without a vax requirement. right?

        my point was there are people who will bail out if there is no requirement, and these have to be subtracted from the opposites, and never are as far as I can see.

        the article and my comment were about STAFF SHORTAGES. I wasn’t looking to be “straightened out” on the epidemiology.

        isn’t one rule to actually read the post you are replying to?

        please prove this forum isn’t censored and post my reply.

        1. Yves Smith

          Wowsers, a supposed scientist fails to calmly address the point, the nearly pervasive false belief that the vaccines are sterilizing. That misinformation is repeated regularly by public officials and the media.

          And we unlike you provided evidence that the vaccines do little to nothing to blunt infection, yet that has been the repeated reason for insisting people be vaccinated in workplaces, NOT protecting the hospital system (or themselves). What other basis could you possibly have for making your working be dependent on a vaccine requirement? That your assistants would be more likely to sick out otherwise? I rather doubt it.

          Instead you engage in a fact free rant, apparently because I had the temerity for (actually politely by my standards) calling out your position as unscientific. And rather than present a scientific basis, like concern for hospitals in your community, you went on an unhinged personal attack…confirming that this is an emotional issue for you and you can’t defend your views. It’s widely known the vaccines aren’t sterilizing, but you can’t deal with that when pointed out? Seriously?

          Your all-upset, virtually no content, reply, as far as the key fact, what is the rationale for having a workplace vaccine mandate is concerned, in fact shows pretty dramatically that my questioning your claim regarding the scientific basis for your views was spot on. The only “scientific basis” appears to be the widespread misapprehension that the unvaccinated represent more of contagion threat than the unvaccinated.

          And you e-mail address indicates you are not even remotely a bioscientist, so don’t try pulling rank. Logic and evidence don’t require PhDs.

          And as for my “playing God,” what about this being my site don’t you understand? As Barry Ritholtz put in his original comments policy, which we regard as Web standard:

          This may be a free country, but The Big Picture is my personal fiefdom. I rule over all as benevolent dictator/philospher king.

          Fear my wrath, mortals! I will ban anyone whom I choose from posting comments — usually, for a damned good reason, but on rare occasions, for the exact same reason God created the platypus: because I feel like it.

          I trust you will find your happiness elsewhere on the Internet.

          1. Basil Pesto

            Yeah, but come on:

            all of the next 3 arguments are off-point or cherry-picked data.

            I’ve been a very successful research scientist for decades, yet you know better what is scientific and what is not only delusion but shear delusion.

            You don’t need to know about quasars to understand that this is very silly argumentation, especially when the blog’s position is informed by a group of scientists, including research scientists, who actually work in Covid-relevant fields. Moreover, it hasn’t been reached overnight, but over the course of a year of fairly diligent analysis – that underpins the declarative nature of the original statements. I think we’re better off having well-informed would-be Leninists running their own blogs than ill-informed would-be Leninists running classrooms or much else, for that matter.

        2. Basil Pesto

          Yeah, but come on:

          all of the next 3 arguments are off-point or cherry-picked data.

          I’ve been a very successful research scientist for decades, yet you know better what is scientific and what is not only delusion but shear delusion.

          You don’t need to know about quasars to understand that this is very silly argumentation, especially when the blog’s position is informed by a group of scientists, including research scientists, who actually work in Covid-relevant fields. Moreover, it hasn’t been reached overnight, but over the course of a year of fairly diligent analysis – that underpins the declarative nature of the original statements.

          1. Yves Smith

            Thanks. We’ve provided links so often supporting these statements, which are all consistent the fact that the vaccines are not sterilizing yet widely presented as if they were, that I didn’t feel the need to do so yet again.

  9. Samuel Conner

    I’ve been in a hospital and multiple clinics in recent weeks helping a friend with medical challenges, and in every location, without exception, the staff — both support and clinical — were ‘protected’ with surgical procedure masks, not N95 respirators. It’s my understanding that N95s are much more effective against Delta (and presumably Omicron) than are the procedure masks. Consistently, my friend and I, with 3M Aura N95s (about $1/each, and reusable a limited number of times, I think), have the best PPE of anyone we come across.

    Limited interaction with staff suggests that they would like N95s. Someone among the higher-ups, and I can’t imagine it’s a person with medical expertise, is not willing to make the additional expenditure needed to provide these to protect the enterprises’ “human capital.”

    The thought occurs that if these same decision-makers deliberately neglected maintenance of enterprise-essential plant and machinery, the bad decisions would be noticed at some point and the decision-makers would be canned (or at least promoted to get them into a place where they could do less harm). But if the mission-essential “capital” is human capital, …


    I’ve read that in some school districts, teachers spend their own funds to provide essential supplies to their classes, because the school budget doesn’t cover them.

    I wonder if it will fall to patients to provide their care-givers with needed high-quality PPE.

    One also wonders if the administrators would allow the care-givers to use better-quality PPE in the facilities. It might hurt morale among the staff who don’t have patients bringing them needed protective gear.

    1. Yves Smith

      I am now using N95s every time I go out. I have to stuff a procedure mask underneath because none of them fit my face well, even the best still leaks under my chin.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Have you tried the 3M Aura 9205/9210 series? They don’t work great if one has a “long face” — speaking tends to tug the nose-bridge down; you have to speak with a clenched jaw to avoid that. I find they work perfectly on my rather “square” face. The under-chin part is about 3 inches deep, so there’s plenty of space for a seal. It feels almost like I am wearing a full-face respirator, which is surprising for the small package that the Auras come in.


        I’ve been giving these away to whomever will receive them. A staff member to whom I offered a bunch demurred until it could be determined whether Admin would permit their use in the facility(!)

        It’s kind of unbelievable to me that we may have to wait until mucosal sterilizing vaccines are widely available to actually begin to put this disaster behind us. Me thinks that aggressive NPIs earlier and consistently could have made a difference.

        1. Tom Stone

          I did pick up a ten pack of the 3M Aura 9210 masks and they do fit and seal well,@$25 out the door for 10.
          A good choice.

        2. haywood

          I bought the ones with the foam around ones nose. The chin flap seems rather flimsy to me, moving an awful lot with jaw movement, but lots of medical workers I know swear by them so…

          I’m still disgusted by how hard it is to find quality information, let alone supply, of N95-grade masks for my young child.

  10. jimmy cc

    i did not think the courts would save us on the mandate, but they certainly ruled in favor of the workers in more cases than i believed.

  11. The Pale Scot

    It seems the numbers of both unvaccinated num nums and nurses could be high enough that COVID free hospitals could be designated for non COVID procedures, only workers and patients with up to date verified vaccinations allowed. The COVID specified hospitals can take the unvaccinated. Ivermectin allowed and PPE not required. Win win all a round. I’m sure the COVID free facilities could have surcharges, I’d happily pay that to get surgeries I’ve been waiting 2 frigging years to for.

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