At an internal American Airlines employee question and answer session last week, airline President Robert Isom outlined President Biden’s executive orders on vaccination as they apply to employers like American, as well as other vaccination rules.
The airline is both a government contractor (CRAF, Essential Air Service, postal contracts) which requires 100% vaccination, and an employer with over 100 employees (where employees could test out of vaccination). They aren’t sure whether they’ll be treated as a government contractor for vaccination. Some other governments require crew members to be vaccinated in order to enter, including for air crew.
One pilot asked a question to the airline President about his reluctance to get vaccinated, saying he’s neither an anti-vaxxer nor a conspiracy theorist he just doesn’t know the long term effects and already has had Covid-19. Those who talk about the ‘unknowns’ of long-term effects never seem to pair that with a scientific theory of how there might be such effects.
He continued, asking about exceptions to a mandate for those with natural immunity from prior infection.
Isom offered that American is “following what the CDC guidelines are, following then how that is interpreted and pushed to us” in regulation. American didn’t get out ahead of the government with vaccine requirements (like United) or penalties for not being vaccinated (Delta). But if the government says require vaccination, that’s the end of the matter.
They’re doing what the government says, and so far the government has shown little willingness to recognize immunity from prior infection – except that documented recovery within the past 90 days exempts an air traveler from testing when returning to the U.S. even while vaccination does not.
The pilot sort of has a point, the CDC and federal regulations need to do a better job:
- recognizing natural immunity, and
- offering comparative advice.
Isn’t natural immunity is better than J&J? And the data on immunity from prior infection and one shot of an mRNA vaccine is amazing, generally better than two shots of vaccine yet isn’t generally considered satisfying requirements.
Indeed there is no reason to do two shots if you’ve recovered from Covid > 90 days ago. The FDA won’t let Biden do boosters for all, but insists that those who have essentially gotten a shot recovering from Covid still need two doses. That’s not good science. Yet this pilot should get one shot of an mRNA vaccine.
Oddly FDA committee critics of booster shots want behavioral restrictions on the vaccinated. Either no boosters are needed because mild cases aren’t a big deal, or we need to restrict peoples’ behavior even when they’re vaccinated because they might get mild cases and that’s a problem. If the restrictions are to prevent them from getting infected and spread the disease, you’d want them to have boosters to reduce the chance of their getting infected and spreading the disease.
Of the 18 scientists who criticized boosters, more than half are on record as supporting other, more burdensome interventions since the summer surge.
I asked those scientists why, if boosters aren't necessary, masks and social distancing are. None of them responded.
— Aaron Sibarium (@aaronsibarium) September 16, 2021
Here’s Paul Romer on the data games being played to avoid making boosters available.
Of course over a year ago I wrote that we don’t know how long vaccine effectiveness will last, and this complicates vaccine passport regimes (including the President’s pending OSHA requirement for vaccination of employees working at companies with 100+ workers).