By Steve Moran
I have spent hours debating whether or not I should publish this article. I know many advisors and friends would say I shouldn’t since our industry has enough trouble with unfair headline-grabbing attacks from the media. We simply do not need this kind of attack of leaders who are giving their all. Those leaders made the heroic decision to keep residents and team members safe by requiring their teams to be vaccinated.
In fact, contrary to the tweet noted below that set me off, not requiring the vaccine would largely undo heroic efforts we saw during the pandemic.
I debated posting the content without the name but concluded posting with attribution was the correct thing to do.
Finally, I did email Josh, the author of the Tweet, describing the essence of the article in order to give him a chance to respond. As of the publication date I have not had a response.
Here is what got me so fired up:
Covid-19 simply sucks for everyone. Every single senior living operator I know is suffering because of Covid-19 and every single one is trying to figure out the very best way to protect residents, team members, and families. All the while confronting declining revenues, increasing costs, changing and conflicting regulations, incomplete science, and massive staffing shortages.
Making it much more complicated and difficult to figure out the right thing to do is that nearly every bit of data is tainted by politics on the left and the right.
When I see an insider attack from within, I simply shake my head and want to cry, because it is cruel and hurts us all. It is wrong and immoral.
Freedom and Choice
The thing that makes America great more than anything else is that we’ve been granted, thanks to our founding fathers, great freedoms. They were not perfect freedoms and they continue to not be perfect freedoms. Freedom is such a simple concept but very difficult to implement, primarily because often the exercise of my freedoms, my rights, can impact your freedoms or even hurt you.
For instance, you want the freedom to drive 100 mph while drinking, but that puts me at risk and so we have laws about drinking and driving and how fast you can drive.
Covid-19 has, over and over again, challenged how to best balance those freedoms, with pretty much everyone being unhappy, believing restrictions and rules are too stringent or not stringent enough. And, too often, nuanced by political leaning rather than hard data.
Here is where I am coming from in writing this.
- I was vaccinated and got the vaccine as soon as I could.
- I have worn masks and followed the rules, as best I could.
- I am sympathetic to those who have chafed under what they felt was overreach, because too often what was presented as hard science turned out to be speculation. For instance today in public hardly anyone is really worried about surface transmission, even though at one time we were told it was a very real risk.
- I don’t think any individual should be forced by the government or their employer to be vaccinated.
- I also believe that employers have a right to make vaccination a condition of employment.
- I believe businesses have the right to say customers can’t do business with them (in person): cruise ships, restaurants, conferences, senior living.
- I think any senior living organization that does not mandate Covid-19 vacination is unnecessarily putting staff and residents in harm’s way.
Yet . . .
- I think if someone wants to operate a vax-free senior living community believing that is right, then they should have that right. I do recognize that it is complex. If someone gets Covid in a senior living community, your tax dollars and mine will be spent caring for them.
But we have already as a society in many other areas said that is a value we are living by. People drink to excess, eat to excess, and don’t exercise, clearly massively increasing healthcare costs. We already accept this is a price we pay for freedom.
At the end of the day, I find myself frustrated by so many of the anti-vaxxers who insist on their freedom to not get the vaccination but then oppose the freedom of business owners to require a vaccine to interact in-person with those businesses.