As difficult as the COVID situation is, one concerning aspect is to read the numerous “woe is me” letters from current health care workers asking us to feel sorry for them, as they complain about “the mandate.” They demand the right to remain unvaccinated.

Earlier letters have already made excellent points, such as adhering to the Hippocratic oath. To be clear, there is no mandate. Everyone has a choice – get the vaccine to keep themselves and others in their orbit safe (if you don’t believe me, ask a trusted doctor!) or leave health care. The majority of people I know do not want unvaccinated people providing health care to either themselves or their family. (Nor do we want to pay for their care when they get sick unnecessarily).

I also have a solution to the potential problem of having too few health care workers if the mandate is upheld. I am a retired health care provider, and many of my friends are, too. Many would go back to work, at least temporarily, on a part-time basis to fill a societal need. However, employers need to get creative. Pay well (commensurate with experience), recruit seasoned workers and be flexible to their needs (e.g., if they only want to work a shift or two per week). An added benefit to the employer is that older workers also do not need health insurance – we come with it!

To the unvaccinated: Please get a job that does not involve close human contact. Stay healthy, everyone!

Regi Robnett
professor emeritus, department of occupational therapy, University of New England
Portland

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