Dovere: I’m glad you bring up the vaccines question, because even though it seems like we are at least a while off from having a vaccine for the coronavirus, you can already see the fight brewing—people saying whether they want to get the vaccine or not, whether it’ll be mandatory or not. What is your take on that, given your experience?
Cassidy: We already see a robust set of laws and workplace requirements that I think would apply very nicely to coronavirus. Schools have pre-matriculation requirements, which is to say the child has to be vaccinated, unless there’s a contraindication against certain vaccine-preventable diseases, before she or he enrolls, including measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, hepatitis A.
Hospitals can commonly require all employees to have the flu shot, because obviously you don’t want the employee communicating infection to other people. So I think we already have a pretty robust set of laws and regulations that’ll govern. I think most people are going to want the vaccine. Hard to think they won’t. But at the same time, if you get the vaccine and if it’s effective, hopefully it does not matter if another does not wish to have it.
I think that politics is just our current form of working out issues as if we were thinking aloud. And there’s always gonna be somebody with a contrary opinion. But as we think out loud, we as a society will become reconciled to certain viewpoints. I don’t fault somebody saying they don’t wish to be vaccinated. And I don’t fault somebody who wishes to say it should be mandatory that everybody is. It is part of the discussion. And I think we actually do better as a nation if we have that full, robust discussion, because I’d like to think that wisdom prevails.
Dovere: And wisdom prevails is, for you, that there would be widespread vaccination.
Cassidy: Yeah, but that’s the current law. One is that the uptake of the flu vaccine, which is a voluntary vaccine, has continued to increase. But where it’s required, people take it up. As the coronavirus has caused such problems, I’m sure every employer will have some requirement to have it, and that apparently is allowed. So I think we can kind of allow our communities, if you will, to kind of dictate that. It doesn’t take a federal law.
Let’s take the perspective of somebody who lives in a community with very low prevalence, in which, you know, the coronavirus is just not there, as best you can tell. But they’re being asked to wear a mask. Now, there has to be some sort of rhyme and reason beyond everybody has to do it. It should be that we know from surveillance testing or from some other method of analysis that we’re actually having spread of coronavirus in this community.
I grant you, it can come in surreptitiously. People don’t know it’s there. I grant you that. But there’s other areas in which it seems fairly well documented that there’s a very low incidence of infection. So I think it would help if there was some nuance in the recommendations. I think people would be more accepting if they saw the rationale, the transparency behind the decision-making process.