The hardworking women and men of 1199SEIU have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic for nine months. During this time, they have bravely fought to save lives, even through the fear of contracting the disease and endangering the lives of their loved ones.
In addition to wearing masks and other PPE, socially distancing, and following other workplace safety procedures, we believe that the COVID-19 vaccine is a critical step forward to help protect our members’ health, and to help put an end to this devastating pandemic that has ravaged our nation. Early testing by governmental and independent scientists here in the United States and abroad has shown that the vaccine is safe and effective, and that any side effects are minimal and short-lived. Although concerns surrounding the risk of potential side effects, apprehension about the speed at which this vaccine was developed, and our nation’s history of medical discrimination and racism are real, we believe that the development and trials have been thorough to date, and that information on the vaccine’s efficacy has been clear and forthcoming. Simply put, after what we have seen over the last nine months, the risks of doing nothing are more dangerous.
We strongly encourage our members to get the vaccine when available, as we believe it is a vital tool to help us move forward from COVID-19. We do not, however, support a mandate. As healthcare workers, we know that our members are the most trusted voices on this issue, and well-equipped to make the best possible choices to protect themselves, their families, and their patients.
We will continue to provide education and resources to keep our membership informed about any updated information, and we will continue to do all we can to help our nation recover and heal.