UPDATE 3.15.2023: Nearly three years after Americans were told “two weeks to stop the spread,” there are still vaccine mandates for travelers and employees in America. But the science behind those mandates is increasingly shakey. Gretchen Vogel asks in Science Magazine, “Do COVID-19 vaccine mandates still make sense?” Did they ever? She writes:
Visitors to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in Washington, D.C., receive a clear reminder that, 3 years after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on 10 March 2020, it’s far from over. Before entering, they must show a guard proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Such demands were common around the world a year ago, with wide support from infectious disease scientists and public health researchers. But by now, almost everyone has had natural infections with SARS-CoV-2 or been vaccinated against the coronavirus—sometimes both—and it’s become clear that vaccine-induced immunity quickly loses its ability to prevent infection and spread of the latest variants. Some now say the mandates are outdated.
The persistent requirements are “baffling to say the least,” says Heidi Larson, an anthropologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and director of the Vaccine Confidence Project. She spoke at a major infectious disease meeting this year that required all attendees to show they had had two doses of a vaccine—with no need for a recent booster. “It’s not like it’s going to mitigate the spread.”
UPDATE 3.18.2022: When I originally wrote this piece in September 2021, some may have thought Alfie Oakes was done for. Taking a stand against COVID-19 mandates could be a death sentence for any career, right? Wrong. Both Oakes and Governor Ron DeSantis have shown that standing up for freedom with conviction can only improve one’s fate in Florida. Andrew Atkins at Naples Daily News says that after Oakes stood up against unfair COVID rules, people went out of their way to support him. Atkins writes:
Oakes’ opinions seem to have done little to cause business to dwindle, instead drumming up customers who go out of their way to support the vocal bussinessman.
Oakes is one of America’s “food kings,” and a patriot. Oakes has resisted COVID authoritarianism since the beginning, fighting a lawsuit by Collier County, and creating a “mask exemption policy,” for his employees. Now he’s rejecting Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate. Michael Hudak reports for WINK, writing:
On WINK News on Thursday, we told you that President Biden announced there will be new federal vaccine requirements that could impact about 100 million Americans. In the time since, the Republican National Committee (RNC) vowed it will sue the federal government.
A number of businesses, including some in Southwest Florida, say the requirements will not take effect in their workplaces. One of those business owners, Alfie Oakes, is saying no way to the requirements. Oakes said almost a year ago that COVID-19 was a hoax and that he planned to continue running his business the way he always had. And he’s kept that promise.
At Seed to Table, nothing changed when coronavirus first came to Southwest Florida. When the pandemic hit, and SWFL headed into its first surge in cases, or even now with the delta variant, things have stayed the same. Customers and employees have been given the choice of how to live.
“We have 3,200 employees. No one’s… no one’s masking, no one social distance and no one ever did ever. We’ve been hugging each other, loving each other. No one’s got sick. No one … No one’s… no one’s been in the hospital,” said Oakes.
WINK News cannot verify Oakes’ claims. But, on Friday, he made it quite clear that he will not comply with Biden’s vaccine mandate. “We’ll never vaccinate, I guarantee it. Over my dead body, we won’t vaccinate here. He can get the DLL, he can get OSHA?) to come and fine me $14,000 a person,” Oakes said.
In the most sweeping COVID-19 requirements yet, the Biden Administration says that if you own a business with more than 100 employees, that those employees must be vaccinated.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said he will fight the measure. Oakes does appreciate the governor’s position, but he says he’s okay taking this position by himself. “Like I said, it’s all… it’s all a game. It’s all politics, and it’s never gonna happen. And if they try to make it happen, that would even be worse,” said Oakes.
WINK News reached out to a dozen businesses, including Lee Health, Publix, Hertz and Chico’s but none of those businesses were ready to speak about their possible response to the president’s vaccine mandate.
Originally posted on September 13, 2021.
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