COVID policy is unfortunately a game. Last week, the CDC’s bluff was called and they were found wanting. The CDC cannot say why anyone with natural immunity should be vaccinated. This information has been revealed to us by a FOIA request initiated by a law firm. This should be a game changer, but it will be only if enough people learn of it.
I go into this issue and other issues in a communication with my employer. I have now raised my concerns with the vaccine mandate to every single management level in my chain of command (the mandate is still in effect for government workers like me, unlike the private business mandate). I am getting some responses, but not good answers to questions and concerns.
I am being a pest within my organization because I don’t know what else to do or how else someone at my peon level can effect change. I hope to prick the consciences of at least a few folks in senior leadership, but I fear too many of them are unwilling to risk their own positions of authority to do anything substantial. They say they care about the employees they manage, but if they really cared they would see this mandate is doing far more harm than good. The unfortunate truth is that while our political leaders are responsible for this awful mandate, there are many senior leaders in private business and civil service who are willing to go along with it. They have the power to shut it down, but instead they are making all this possible.
Latest Letter to My Employer
Last Monday, I attended a small group meeting of veterans who met with Commissioner _____. Later in the week, I attended an all-managers meeting with Deputy Commissioner ______. During each of these meetings, I was granted a few minutes to talk and asked a few questions regarding COVID policy. Also, three weeks ago, I attended an IT all-hands town hall meeting during with our CIO during which I and many others raised concerns in writing. I have been raising issues to my chain of command and to the HCO since August. After all this time, there are still many unanswered questions. At this point, I have focused in on these few key questions which I raised in meetings last week:
- Why don’t we push work-at-home as an reasonable accommodation when so many in the work force have been successfully working from home for the last two years?
- Everyone in senior executive leadership stresses they are being compelled to implement this mandate. They want us to know that while they may have misgivings about it, it is coming from above and they are bound to implement it. However, our organization is responsible for implementing a fair and just process for exemption reviews and an appeals process. How is it fair then that someone who appeals the denial of an exemption, must then be vaccinated in order to avoid disciplinary measures? Essentially this means that there is no (real) appeals process.
- The CDC has recently admitted they have no documentation of anyone previously infected with COVID being re-infected, so why is our policy still to pre-emptively deny medical exemptions based on a prior infection which infers a natural immunity?
- What qualifications does the Reasonable Accommodation office have for reviewing religious and medical exemptions? How does this process square with our First Amendment rights?
One other question that I had on my list to ask but couldn’t fit in during meetings is the following:
- Why is the organization fast tracking this effort and in such a hurry to send out counseling letters and begin disciplinary action?
Of course, there are many other questions than these, some I posed in email earlier (and I am still waiting for answers) and there are tons more questions that many of our colleagues posted in town hall meetings (and they are also still waiting for answers), but these five questions I think hone in on the essence of employee concerns.
Work At Home
I have worked at home the last two years and virtually everyone I work with has worked at home the last two years. A large portion of our workforce can continue to work from home safely, whether vaccinated or not. The organization could offer this option as a reasonable accommodation to a vast swath of employees, thereby avoiding the catastrophic measure of terminating so many of our employees, a move that will both demoralize and devastate our workforce.
Offering this option to eligible employees who can and have worked at home for two years would make us no less safe than we are today. This is the ideal solution that would be good for individuals as well as our organization as whole. It’s a win-win situation–if only reason (and a bit of courage) would prevail.
It proved difficult for me to get a straight answer to the work-at-home question, but after pressing the issue, I was told work-at-home has been ruled out. It appears our political leaders just don’t want us to have this option, and our organization is following this direction. I know individuals in the organization who are currently using work-at-home as an option to fulfill their reasonable accommodation requests (although these requests are not vaccine related). However, if the same request is made today as a reasonable accommodation to forgo vaccination, that request will be denied. Again, like in so many other instances, the rules that have served us well until now no longer apply for COVID.
In summary, we are prevented from adopting a solution that keeps us all safe, respects the rights of individuals, and protects our organization from great harm. This is probably the best and easiest solution we could adopt. In fact, it is the solution we have basically adopted the last two years. Why abandon it now?
Instead, we are now implementing a political solution and disregarding what is best for our colleagues and our organization. If I have all this wrong and have misunderstood, please correct me. Otherwise, please explain why senior executive leadership doesn’t make a stand on this issue and demand that work-at-home be a reasonable accommodation for those forgoing vaccination? Are you powerless to affect change or just unwilling?
The following comes straight from the Frequently Asked Questions document sent to all employees:
If my agency denies my request for a reasonable accommodation and I challenge/appeal that decision, can the agency begin disciplinary steps while the challenge/appeal is pending?
If you challenge the denial, you can expect to be directed to get vaccinated while your challenge is pending. If you don’t follow that directive, you will likely face disciplinary action.
Organizational leadership is quick to distance themselves from this mandate and shift accountability to political leaders, yet the reasonable accommodation process and the appeals process are both owned by our organization. We are responsible for developing a process to review and process medical and religious exemption requests. Our political leaders are not advising our organization to such a level of detail. We have some latitude in how the process plays out.
So, last week I asked as directly as I could how is this appeals process just and fair? I got a lot of what I considered a runaround on this question, so I kept pressing until I finally confirmed this much: yes, you will be terminated if your request is denied and you do not follow the vaccine mandate even while your appeal is being considered. Wow. Unbelievable.
Still nobody addressed this question: where is the justice in this? I ask the question again today: how can you justify terminating an employee for non-compliance while their appeal is still being considered?
We were told during both meetings last week that counseling letters went out as scheduled on November 9 and we are moving ahead with disciplinary action. Also, during our all-managers meeting, it was revealed that folks in the HCO are actually working weekends to ensure this process moves forward as quickly as possible. Why are we being so efficient with these disciplinary measures? We slow walk so many other things; we usually get bogged down crossing all t’s and dotting the i’s and ensuring that every standard is followed and everyone is “in the loop”, so are why we fast tracking this? Why are we pushing ahead on vaccine mandates as if it is the top priority of our organization? Why are we in such an all-fire hurry to terminate people? Again, this appears to be driven by our organization, not political leadership.
Why can’t our organization’s leadership be a little more deliberate? Why not wait to hear more from employees before rushing ahead to what will be a devastating blow to the fitness and morale of our organization? Why not hear more of the concerns of the people who you profess to have so much respect for? If you really cared as much about the employees as you say you do, you would realize that this policy is doing far more harm than good.
Also, why not wait and see what happens to the appeals being played out in our court system? The Fifth Circuit court of appeals this month ruled on the vaccine mandate for companies with more than 100 employees. The ruling doesn’t apply to the mandate we are under, but it does make some pronouncements which may eventually be relevant to our mandate as well. There are other cases as well which are taking up the government employees mandate. Why the hurry?
In its Nov. 12 22-page ruling, the court called the Biden administration’s mandate “fatally flawed” and said OSHA should “take no steps to implement or enforce the mandate until further court order.”
The court said the mandate fails to consider that the ongoing threat of COVID is more dangerous to some employees than others. According to the ruling:
“The mandate is a one-size-fits-all sledgehammer that makes hardly any attempt to account for differences in workplaces (and workers) that have more than a little bearing on workers’ varying degrees of susceptibility to the supposedly ‘grave danger’ the mandate purports to address.”
the mandate is over-inclusive and under-inclusive. On one hand, it covers staff in almost each trade no matter their danger of publicity (there’s “little try and account for the apparent variations between the dangers dealing with, say, a safety guard on a lonely evening shift, and a meatpacker working shoulder to shoulder in a cramped warehouse”) and “doesn’t exempt these with pure immunity.”
For the Greater Good
During the all-managers meeting, a response to one of my inquiries was that I should understand this all being implemented for the greater good. There was not time for debate on this, but I take a great deal of offense at this statement. I, along with many of my colleagues, consider this mandate to be illegal, unconstitutional, unethical, and immoral. Please don’t tell us something of this nature is for the greater good. Individuals livelihood and health are being threatened all for what some in leadership are terming the greater good. Our organization wants to hire many individuals once given the authority by Congress, but much of the institutional knowledge needed to bring on and train new people could be lost in the coming year. The greater good, in my opinion, would be to put up more resistance in order to affect change and, at least, soften the blow of this mandate.
Furthermore, the supposed benefits of this policy are very subjective. China, for years, has limited the number of children a family may have; this policy is justified by the government who declares it is for the “public good”, yet to ensure this “public good” the Chinese government has also forced sterilizations and forced abortions on their citizens. Surely, none of us would agree these measures are morally acceptable? Forcing others to take a vaccine against their will is not as severe a measure as forced sterilizations or abortions, but if this policy can be successfully implemented who knows what comes next for our country?
Recently, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was made of the CDC by a New York law firm. The law firm just made the response public. In the letter below, the CDC admits in writing it cannot document a single instance of someone previously infected from COVID who has remained UNVACCINATED and subsequently was REINFECTED and passed along COVID to someone else. The relevant section is the third paragraph which says:
A search of our records failed to reveal any documents pertaining to your request. The CDC Emergency Operations Center (EOC) conveyed that this information is not collected.
This is an amazing admission which should be front-page news everywhere and should impact the vaccine mandate policies being pushed forward. We don’t live in a vacuum. We should not continue full-steam ahead when new information comes to light. Unfortunately, altering course at this point is just not politically expedient.
During our all-managers meeting, Deputy Commissioner ______ took the position that the letter was not relevant to our situation, and that it is unreasonable to expect the CDC to try to capture every possible statistic. There wasn’t time to debate the relevance of this given the forum, but I will take the time now to explain why it is not only relevant but it should be an absolute game changer.
To prove the significance of this and how it absolutely crushes the logic for vaccine mandates, let’s consider the following:
- the CDC has been claiming for more than a year that people who have been previously infected can be re-infected. In August, they stated the following: “Cases of reinfection with COVID-19 have been reported, but remain rare. ” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/reinfection.html. Why would the CDC make that claim, but then say later they have no records of anyone with natural immunity being re-infected? They know this to be true but they are not tracking it and have no evidence of it? This is a puzzlement.
- the Executive Order for government employees allows for medical exemptions, but the direction provided to our employees is that natural immunity is not a valid cause for a medical exemption. Why is the government pre-emptively denying medical exemptions when the government’s own authoritative source says it cannot document any cases in which someone with natural immunity has been re-infected? Why are we not demanding more from our political leadership? Again, this is another puzzlement.
- Why does the CDC deem this statistic not worthy of tracking? The CDC’s admission that they are not tracking it is medical malfeasance. Herd immunity has been a part of the national discussion from the beginning of this pandemic. What level of herd immunity has been achieved or not achieved after nearly two years of dealing with COVID? Is herd immunity even still possible after all this time? More than 40% of all Americans may have been infected with COVID the last two years (the official reported total is 48 million, but the CDC estimates two in three cases goes unreported, pushing the actual number to possibly as high as 144 million). This statistic of who has been re-infected with COVID is as relevant as they come. If 144 million Americans have been infected, we should without a doubt, want to know what level of protection this many Americans have from re-infection. Anyone who contends that this statistic doesn’t matter is actually green-lighting our politicians to impose a vaccine mandate without an adequate factual and scientific basis and to trample over our basic rights. We shouldn’t throw up our hands and shout “Executive Order” when they do this.
Numerous studies have been conducted showing that natural immunity provides more protection from infection than does vaccine immunity. Earlier this year, a study from Israel looked at thousands of people who had either been vaccinated against COVID-19 or were unvaccinated but previously infected.
Participants who were double jabbed were 5.96 times more likely to be infected and 7.13 times more likely to experience symptoms than those with natural immunity. After three months, risk of infection was 13.06 times higher among immunized individuals and they were 27 times more likely to experience symptoms. How about that?
This video from the medical site, Peak Prosperity, breaks down the Israel data in detail in an easy-to-understand manner: Natural Immunity Stronger Than Vaccine Alone | Peak Prosperity.
Based on this study and others (I include a little more below), one has to assume there are indeed some cases where people have been re-infected with COVID despite protection from natural immunity. Yet, the CDC says they cannot document a single such case. That’s very odd. Isn’t that their job? What exactly have they been doing the past two years?
Perhaps the CDC is saying this because they know the real number re-infected is not zero, but is extremely small and revealing an exact number would be an embarrassment to them and our government. The logic for the mandate might crumble if the actual number were known publicly. Therefore, it is safer for the CDC just to not track the number at all (or just perhaps pretend it isn’t tracked).
The position that this statistic doesn’t matter is also contradicted by the CDC’s own statements earlier in the year. The CDC stated in August, they want more answers regarding natural immunity. They actually do recognize the importance of this statistic (or at least they did not too long ago). On August 6, they said the following:
We are still learning more about COVID-19. Ongoing COVID-19 studies will help us understand:
- How likely is reinfection
- How often reinfection occurs
- How soon after the first infection can reinfection take place
- How severe are cases of reinfection
- Who might be at higher risk for reinfection
- What reinfection means for a person’s immunity
- If a person is able to spread COVID-19 to other people when reinfected
Yet, a few months later when responding to the FOIA request, they say they can’t be bothered with tracking this information. Were they lying on August 6 or are they lying in the FOIA request? Both cannot be true. Are those of you leading our organization not bothered by this inconsistency from our CDC? How can you support a policy which has little or no factual or scientific support and is propped up by a lie from the CDC? I get upset with our political leaders when they foist upon us a policy this impactful which appears to be based solely on political motivations. How about you?
Many of us would be more supportive of this vaccine mandate if there was a stronger scientific basis for it; this mandate not only violates our basic Constitutional rights, but it doesn’t even have a sound basis for what it purports to do (to “keep us safe”).
The bottom line for us is this: a significant percentage of our own work force has already been infected with COVID and those individuals have some level of natural immunity. The CDC cannot tell us the likelihood with which any of them may contract COVID again, although we know from numerous studies (not any from the CDC, however) that the likelihood of contracting COVID is far less for those with natural immunity than for those with vaccine immunity. Why then is our policy to pre-emptively deny medical exemptions based on an individual’s claim of natural immunity?
Finally, I end this section with a bit more actual science for those who remain skeptical. The following comes from a newsletter published by our family pediatrician, an actual doctor, an authoritative source. The CDC has fallen down on the job and can’t make the case in favor of the vaccine mandate, but others are making the case against this vaccine mandate.
Unfortunately and fortunately, almost 1/3 of the US has had natural infection. Why is that not being discussed in a positive way for immunity moving forward? In a well written opinion piece in the British Medical Journal, Jennifer Block raises many important questions regarding the illogical approach that the United States has taken regarding individuals with natural immunity. It is worth your time to read the whole piece. She asks very important questions. Why aren’t we counting natural infection like a vaccine or at minimum offer one dose of mRNA vaccine 3 months post illness for full immunity comparable to no illness and two vaccines? The data clearly supports this truth. Europe and Israel are using much more logical approaches to these questions. Here some excerpts from the piece:
“As more US employers, local governments, and educational institutions issue vaccine mandates that make no exception for those who have had covid-19, questions remain about the science and ethics of treating this group of people as equally vulnerable to the virus—or as equally threatening to those vulnerable to covid-19—and to what extent politics has played a role.” “But the studies kept coming. A National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded study from La Jolla Institute for Immunology found “durable immune responses” in 95% of the 200 participants up to eight months after infection. One of the largest studies to date, published in Science in February 2021, found that although antibodies declined over 8 months, memory B cells increased over time, and the half life of memory CD8+ and CD4+ T cells suggests a steady presence””In Israel, researchers accessed a database of the entire population to compare the efficacy of vaccination with previous infection and found nearly identical numbers. “Our results question the need to vaccinate previously infected individuals,” they concluded.””President Biden left no room for those questioning the public health necessity or personal benefit of vaccinating people who have had covid-19: “We have a pandemic because of the unvaccinated … So, get vaccinated. If you haven’t, you’re not nearly as smart as I said you were.”” “A large study in the UK and another that surveyed people internationally found that people with a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection experienced greater rates of side effects after vaccination. Among 2000 people who completed an online survey after vaccination, those with a history of covid-19 were 56% more likely to experience a severe side effect that required hospital care.” (Block J. 2021)
Qualifications for the Reasonable Accommodation Office
In both meetings last week, I asked about the qualifications of the RA office to evaluate religious and medial exemption requests. I received no good answers to this question, and I am only left with more questions, doubts, and concerns after my discussions with leadership.
I was told the folks in the RA office are trained to evaluate a wide variety of topics, meaning, I think, that they have not had specific training for the current vaccine mandate exemption requests. This assurance was not very comforting. The folks in the RA office are apparently jacks-of-all-trades but masters of none.
I was also informed by a colleague that people from outside the RA office are being drafted to assist with the review process because they are so many (more than 5,000 requests, we are told). Are the folks being drafted to assist with the process as highly trained as our RA folks? What if I get one of them to review my case?
But beyond their qualifications for this position, the government should not be imposing standards by which to judge my or anyone else’s religious exemption request. The following is in the First Amendment to the Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
So, let’s get this straight. We have a committee, established by our Human Capital Office, within a government agency, an agency which is overseen by Congress. This committee is setting a standard by which to judge the validity of our religious exemption requests. Please explain why you believe this policy does not violate our First Amendment rights. If you agree with me, please explain how you can justify enforcing such a violation?
Nobody has adequately answered this question, I think because nobody wants to take it on. Instead, all we hear is that it is an Executive Order and our hands are tied, and please do not blame me for all this. However, now is the time to do a bit more than you would normally do. All of us, as government employees, swear to take an oath to defend and protect the Constitution, not to defend and protect an Executive Order which may run afoul of the Constitution.
The same concern goes for medical exemption requests. We were told in the all-managers meeting that contracted medical staff can be consulted by the RA folks, but will they consult them when needed? Will the RA office listen to their advice if needed? What if medical staff says that natural immunity is a legitimate reason to forgo vaccination? Will the RA office overrule in this (and other instances)? The government has already ruled out natural immunity, so presumably the RA office would not follow medical advice in this instance.
This is all a tangled web that we should extricate ourselves from. Why do you continue to support it?
New Forum Needed for Unanswered Questions
Almost three weeks ago, I, along with more than 2,000 colleagues, attended an all-hands IT Town Hall meeting. Many questions were entered in a chat box (I captured more than 60 questions and concerns), but only a handful were addressed in the measly 15 minutes devoted to vaccine mandates.
When many of us spoke up after the meeting, we were promised by our CIO that she would work towards developing a forum specifically to answer questions on this topic. We have not seen anything yet (not even a status update), and in the meantime, counseling letters have gone out and suspensions may be starting soon. Why isn’t there more sense of urgency for addressing our concerns? Why are we being put off? You said you heard our concerns. Have you forgotten about us now that more time has passed?
I have been fortunate enough to directly interact with leaders and get a few answers to questions, but the forum I attended with the Commissioner was limited to about 40 people; the all-managers meeting was also limited to Non Bargaining Unit staff. Furthermore, many of the answers are inadequate. The IT town hall was a large forum, but not enough time was allocated for this issue and employees were not allowed to engage directly. Why can’t there be more forums in which ALL employees can directly have their questions answered and concerns addressed? I can tell you with absolutely certainty many people want such a forum and many questions remain unanswered.
Throughout the last three months in my communication with leadership, I have focused on the importance of conscience. This whole matter is important because one must follow one’s conscience in determining how to respond to any difficult situation.
In the various forums I attended the last few weeks, many executives stated that while they may have strong personal feelings on the topic, they are duty-bound to follow an executive order. I say to all of you in senior leadership: if you have misgivings about this policy, then perhaps your conscience is speaking to you. Please take the time for introspection.
As a Catholic, I have consulted the Catechism and its teachings on conscience. Following our consciences is more important than our duty to follow the direction of a superior. Our very immortal souls are in jeopardy if we do not follow our consciences or do not take the trouble to understand the issues of our time. Therefore, in this instance, it is my conscience that guides me, not an Executive Order.
Our church has also issued guidance regarding vaccinations as well as the importance of voluntary participation and the recognition that some “will be bound by conscience to refuse the vaccine”.
In the event, however, that an employer requires a letter from the clergy, the essential point for which the attestation of a Catholic priest might be helpful is therefore the primacy of conscience, as Pope St. Paul VI wrote in his 1965 “Declaration on Religious Freedom” (Dignitatis Humanae, no. 13), “The Christian faithful, in common with all other men, possess the civil right not to be hindered in leading their lives in accordance with their consciences.”
More recently, Pope Francis has said, “The conscience is the interior place for listening to the truth, to goodness, for listening to God; it is the inner place of my relationship with Him, the One who speaks to my heart and helps me to discern, to understand the way I must take and, once the decision is made, to go forward, to stay faithful.” Thus, while Catholics are not bound to refuse the vaccine as a form of immoral cooperation with abortion, and while there is a prima facie obligation to cooperate with public health authorities in promoting the common good, each Catholic must make his or her own decision, in light of each person’s particular situation and moral responsibilities. The Catholic Church recognizes that some Catholics will be bound in conscience to refuse the vaccine.
Therefore, vaccine participation must be voluntary and cannot be forced, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the authority of Pope Francis, indicated last December.
I ask you a few final questions: will the RA office consider my religious liberty and the direction that has been provided by my religious leaders? Will they even grasp the significance of it? Will they deem it relevant to my request for a religious exemption or will their government training and experience lead them in some other direction? Why are you even allowing them to have such authority?
More Game Playing:
Fauci and company want to change the game as well, but they do not have our best intentions in mind. They are looking out for themselves and their political allies.
Fauci this week finally admits that vaccine efficacy is waning. He talks as if this is some new revelation, although this has been apparent since the summer when cases started rising again, so he is about four months too late. Even when he is right about something, it doesn’t seem like he is being honest and straightforward.
Why is he doing this now? Is he finally willing to admit that maybe the vaccines are not all they should be and that maybe we need to go another direction than vaccine mandates? Is this the mea culpa we’ve been hoping for? That would be nice, but no his goal is something else. He wants more vaccines, not fewer. He wants to continue with the vaccine mandates. In fact, he wants to double down.
If you were okay with the vaccine mandates and you think they are indeed for the greater good, then are you for the next vaccine mandate to come and the one after that one? Are you for COVID vaccine mandates being forced on your kids as a condition for school? If you are fully vaccinated and thought you were done with the COVID vaccine, think again.
source: Boosters forever
In multiple interviews Tuesday, Fauci acknowledged that a “significant” amount of vaccinated Americans are being hospitalized for COVID-19 and said that he thinks boosters are “going to become a part of the standard regimen.”
All this is being said, despite the fact that the FDA recently voted 16-2 against boosters for anyone under 65 and the fact that the vaccinated are contracting and spreading COVID as much as the unvaccinated. With efficacy waning will this continue to remain “a pandemic of the unvaccinated”? Well, Dr. Fauci, if he can help it, isn’t about to let us find out. What do we do when the efficacy of the vaccines start to fail? Why, we vaccinate even more.
Leaked data from the Department of Defense last month showed that around 60 percent of older Americans hospitalized with coronavirus by August were “fully vaccinated.” In Vermont, almost three-quarters of COVID-19 deaths in September were vaccinated, reflecting a wave of breakthrough cases across the Northeast.
Along with increasingly failing to prevent COVID deaths or serious illness, the experimental jabs have been linked to unprecedentedly high, frequently fatal, adverse reactions. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a vaccine injury tracking system run by the FDA and CDC, has documented nearly 10,000 deaths potentially linked to COVID vaccination.
There is nothing to see here. Just be sure to listen to the man who is the science when he warns about the next coming crisis:
COVID cases are again rising in the U.S. This is not too surprising given that we are into late Fall now and respiratory ailments tend to thrive in the colder weather. It is not clear yet if this is the start of a significant wave such as we experienced last Fall and Winter. One good thing is that deaths are below where they were last November, although still hovering around 1,000 per day. I will go more into depth later next week as the trends continue to develop. Let’s hope that more people discover the therapeutics and that natural immunity along with vaccines protect us from another significant wave.