Recent headlines in the Press Herald have proclaimed “Hospital group cuts services as mandate thins staff” (Oct. 13, Page A1) and “Vaccine rule may displace group home residents” (Oct. 16, Page B1). A caption published Oct. 8 on Page A1 said: “Three nursing homes already shut down because of staffing problems … . Some fear others will follow once Maine’s health care worker vaccine mandate goes into effect.”

This is not strictly accurate, and it reveals a bias. It would be more accurate to say that employees who refuse to receive vaccines are curtailing services and shutting down facilities or may be displacing residents.

Nobody likes being forced to get a vaccine. But it violates patients’ and clients’ rights to safety to force them to be around an unvaccinated caregiver. And data are on the side of vaccinations. Vaccines have been shown to be safe, especially compared to being unvaccinated. Being around unvaccinated people has been proven not to be.

It is not accurate to say the mandate is shutting down hospitals, group homes and senior centers; it is people, putting their own desires above the safety and lives of their patients, who are shutting them down, and putting the lives and well-being of patients at risk.

Andrew Gorrill

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