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Mandates Help U.S. Employers Top 90% COVID Vaccination Rate

September 30, 2021

In its September 30 story titled “‘Mandates Are Working’: Employer Ultimatums Lift Vaccination Rates, So Far,” the New York Times reported some of the best COVID news for Americans since the delta variant first exploded here in July. In a nutshell, employer mandates implemented by states like New York and California as well as by companies like United Airlines and Tyson Foods have produced worker vaccination rates over 90 percent.

To put that achievement in perspective, those percentages are roughly equal to what fully reopened nations like Ireland and Denmark accomplished voluntarily.

As Professor John Swartzberg of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health explained, “Mandates are working if you define ‘working’ by the percentage of people getting vaccinated and not leaving their jobs in droves.”

A quick glance around the country shows the successes thus far. In New York, 92% of the state’s 650,000 hospital and nursing home workers have received at least one shot, up from 84% and 82% just a week ago. In California, 94 percent of the staff at UC Davis Health in Sacramento have been fully vaccinated in the wake of mandates issued first by the university system and then by the state. Chief Executive Dr. David Lubarsky anticipates only 50 workers will ultimately face disciplinary action in response to their refusal to comply. Meanwhile in Texas, only 0.6% of the 25,000 staff at Houston Methodist Hospital resigned or were fired for failing to roll up their sleeves

Private sector vaccination mandates put in place prior to President Biden’s requirement for firms with more than 100 employees are similarly showing promise. United Airlines reports that 99 percent of its workforce are now fully vaccinated. Only half of the 120,000 workers at Tyson Foods were fully vaccinated when the company announced coronavirus vaccines would be required. Now, 91% of Tyson workers are fully vaccinated, an especially impressive milestone given that most are located in under-vaccinated southern United States.

At those vaccination levels, entire countries can safely return to something like normal. COVID19 cases begin to drop, the strain on hospitals eases and community spread becomes a much lower risk. In Ireland, over 91 percent of the people ages 18 and over (roughly 74% of the entire population) have been fully vaccinated. In reopened Denmark, the figures are 87% over age 12 and 75%, respectively.

The successes in both countries are due to the willingness to freely do what Americans will not. Here, only 67% of the people 18 and older have gotten both shots, a dismal 54% of the population overall. More depressing still, as late as June 7 the United States led both Ireland and Denmark--as well as the UK, Canada and Germany--in the percentage of adults fully vaccinated.

The lesson from Copenhagen and Dublin is clear. A determined free people can voluntarily and enthusiastically make temporary sacrifices to their personal liberties to hasten the arrival of the day when all can once again enjoy their full freedom. Sadly, in the United States—“Land of the Free”—we have to be mandated to act for the common good.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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