GALVESTON

As more employees return to the workplace, business operators are faced with deciding whether to require COVID-19 vaccinations, a tough call for many struggling to keep workers and get back to normal after a year of upheaval.

While many companies are encouraging employees to get vaccinated, most are erring on the side of personal choice and creating incentives for workers to go get inoculated.

Although COVID-19 vaccinations now are widely available to people age 12 and older, many residents both in Galveston County and across the country have been hesitant or opposed to getting the shots.

Despite that hesitancy, some companies still are requiring employees to be vaccinated.

This week, Houston Methodist suspended about 200 employees for failing to follow a vaccination mandate after dozens of workers protested the policy Monday.

Major companies such as Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have said they would require new hires to get vaccinated.

Still more, such as Amazon, Amtrak and Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden, are offering bonuses, extra paid hours or other incentives to encourage employees to get vaccinated.

Gov. Greg Abbott this week signed into law a provision banning Texas businesses from requiring customers to present vaccination information. The new law doesn’t address requiring employees to be vaccinated, however.

Businesses have been walking a tightrope since March 2020, facing backlash from customers over masking requirements as face coverings became more common, then again this spring as increasing vaccination rates prompted a decline in mask mandates.

Like requiring masks, vaccination mandates from employers have become a flashpoint, said Mike Dean, owner of several island restaurants including Yaga’s Cafe, 2314 Strand.

Dean approached the question by incentivizing vaccinations, he said.

Employees who got vaccinated before March 31 received a $40 bonus. But after March 31, employees who had to quarantine from contracting COVID-19 weren’t offered paid leave, he said.

“If you choose not to, that’s your choice,” Dean said.

American National Insurance Co. also isn’t requiring vaccinations, CEO James Pozzi said.

Vaccinated employees don’t need to mask or social distance anymore but unvaccinated employees do, and the company reserves the right to ask its workforce about vaccination status, he said.

Pozzi didn’t know how many employees had been vaccinated, he said.

“We really haven’t even tried to find out,” Pozzi said.

Other major employers in Galveston County are taking similar approaches.

Kroger announced in February it would pay $100 to employees who got vaccinated. Walmart offered a $75 bonus.

Gulf Copper also isn’t requiring its 500 employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but those who are don’t have to wear masks or get temperature checks daily, said Jonathan Hale, vice president of marine services.

“If an employee doesn’t wish to get vaccinated, that’s their business,” Hale said, but Gulf Copper is encouraging employees to get vaccinated.

More vaccinated employees mean fewer chances of someone contracting COVID-19 and having to quarantine, which means schedule changes for the company, he said.

“We do actively advise employees to get vaccinated,” Hale said. “It makes it easier all around.”

‘WE CAN ALWAYS EXPECT LAWSUITS’

Federal employment laws don’t prevent employers from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations as long as the business provides reasonable accommodation, according to a May report from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Accommodations could be for an employee who has a disability or religious belief, according to the report.

Employers should be aware that a vaccination requirement could mean needing to respond to allegations that the policy has a disparate impact on some employees based on race, religion or other factors, according to the report.

But the commission is clear that employers can mandate COVID-19 vaccinations, said Valerie Gutmann Koch, assistant professor of law and co-director of the Health Law & Policy Institute at the University of Houston.

“We can always expect lawsuits,” Gutmann Koch said. “Whether employees would actually win is another story. Any argument they might have for their rights being violated is pretty slim.”

And there’s a precedent for that, especially in the health care setting, she said. It’s not uncommon for hospitals to require their workers to get flu shots, she said.

However, employers may be hesitant to mandate vaccinations because of the ramifications of enforcing such a policy, Gutmann Koch said.

“If you’re going to set a mandate, it has to apply equally to all of your employees,” Gutmann Koch said. “If you have an employee that’s really valuable to your business and that’s the one hold-out employee refusing vaccination, you’re kind of stuck terminating them.”

Requiring vaccines can set up a company for criticism or costly litigation, but not requiring them — and going the incentive route instead — could open up other employees to health risks, she said.

Whether the incentives work is another story.

New federal guidance allowing vaccinated people to remove their masks seemed to encourage people to get a vaccine more than any incentives Dean had offered, he said.

“I told all my employees, ‘If you’re vaccinated, take your mask off,’ and that worked more than the $40,” Dean said.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; keri.heath@galvnews.com or on Twitter @HeathKeri.

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(18) comments

Wayne D Holt

Whatever the "bonus", it is just about guaranteed to be the worst deal you'll ever make in your life. Do you really want to have Covid spike proteins metastasize throughout your body for two $20 bills? Because that is exactly what Canadian researchers have discovered is occurring.

Viral immunologist and associate profession Byram Bridle of the University of Guelph, Ontario was awarded a $230,000 grant by the Canadian government last year for research on COVID vaccine development. He and a group of international scientists filed a request for information from the Japanese regulatory agency to get access to Pfizer’s “biodistribution study.” Biodistribution studies are used to determine where an injected compound travels in the body, and which tissues or organs it accumulates in. “We thought the spike protein was a great target antigen, we never knew the spike protein itself was a toxin and was a pathogenic protein. So by vaccinating people we are inadvertently inoculating them with a toxin.”

“It’s the first time ever scientists have been privy to seeing where these messenger RNA [mRNA] vaccines go after vaccination,” Bridle said in an interview where he first disclosed the data. “Is it a safe assumption that it stays in the shoulder muscle? The short answer is: absolutely not. It’s very disconcerting.”

The biodistribution study obtained by Bridle shows the COVID spike protein gets into the blood where it circulates for several days post-vaccination and then accumulates in organs and tissues including the spleen, bone marrow, the liver, adrenal glands and in “quite high concentrations” in the ovaries.“We have known for a long time that the spike protein is a pathogenic protein", Bridle said. “It is a toxin. It can cause damage in our body if it gets into circulation.”

Another voice on this topic: Stephanie Seneff, senior research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said it is now clear vaccine content is being delivered to the spleen and the glands, including the ovaries and the adrenal glands, and is being shed into the medium and then eventually reaches the bloodstream causing systemic damage. “ACE2 receptors are common in the heart and brain,” she added. “And this is how the spike protein causes cardiovascular and cognitive problems.”

There is an alternative if your employer attempts to coerce you into being vaccinated through a threat of firing--this is not the same as an incentive, which is perfectly permissible even if the worst deal of your life

Here is the Federal regulation requirements regarding experimental drugs granted emergency authorization (such as the mRNA shots), NOT the full approval that all vaccines prior have had to obtain to be showered on the masses like this snake oil has been.

Federal law, Title 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(e)(1)(A)(ii)(I-III) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, states the following about products granted emergency authorization usage:

Individuals to whom the product is administered are informed—(I) that the Secretary has authorized the emergency use of the product; (II) of the significant known and potential benefits and risks of such use, and of the extent to which such benefits and risks are unknown; and (III) of the option to accept or refuse administration of the product, of the consequences, if any, of refusing administration of the product, and of the alternatives to the product that are available and of their benefits and risks.

Any entity or organization that requires EUA COVID-19 vaccinations, COVID-19 tests or masks are in violation of federal law, and will likely face lawsuits if they don’t allow exemptions or alternatives.

The mRNA shots are ALL EXPERIMENTAL and as such, REQUIRE informed voluntary consent to be vaccinated. You may not be coerced, threatened or otherwise forced to participate in this disaster in the making. Consent of the individual is “absolutely essential.” A federal court held that the U.S. military could not mandate EUA vaccines to soldiers. Doe #1 v. Rumsfeld, 297 F.Supp.2d 119 (2003). The court held: "...the United States cannot demand that members of the armed forces also serve as guinea pigs for experimental drugs." Id. at 135. No court has ever upheld a mandate for an EUA vaccine.

If they can't force those in military service to take experimental shots, do you think they can force a civilian to? Stand up for your rights, for your health and against the combined greed and corruption of Big Pharma and the criminal syndicate fondly referred to as our federal government. People were sentenced to hanging at the Nuremberg trials for forced medical experimentation. That's just how serious we should be taking this threat.

Federal law, Title 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(e)(1)(A)(ii)(I-III) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, states the following about products granted emergency authorization usage:

Individuals to whom the product is administered are informed—

(I) that the Secretary has authorized the emergency use of the product;

(II) of the significant known and potential benefits and risks of such use, and of the extent to which such benefits and risks are unknown; and

(III) of the option to accept or refuse administration of the product, of the consequences, if any, of refusing administration of the product, and of the alternatives to the product that are available and of their benefits and risks.

Any entity or organization that requires EUA COVID-19 vaccinations, COVID-19 tests or masks are in violation of federal law, and will likely face lawsuits if they don’t allow exemptions or alternatives.”

michaelsmith Staff
Michael A. Smith

Numerous sources at least as credible as your average talk-radio show have sought to debunk Dr. Bridle comments. Here are a couple for anyone interested.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2021/06/08/fact-check-proteins-covid-19-vaccines-arent-dangerous-toxins/7505236002/

https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2021/jun/07/facebook-posts/no-proof-researcher-claim-covid-19-vaccines-spike-/

Wayne D Holt

Michael, the Galveston Daily News has repeatedly, for over a year, used Dr. Fauci as an unimpeachable source of fact and science based medicine. What is the editorial position of this paper now that he has been shown plainly to have lied in several instances, including during congressional testimony under oath? Dr. Fauci was a cheerleader and facilitator for funding and carrying out experiments in gain of function, which object was to develop strains of corona virus more lethal than occurred in nature. This at a time when credible researchers were warning of the porous nature of Chinese biolabs and the potential for disaster should a weaponized strain escape.

When can we expect to see The Daily News make this a front page headline, as the reputation of this source was staked on the honesty, competency and transparency of Fauci? Fauci is a liar, with financial ties to those who profit from mass vaccination. Will the GDN print anything illuminating these facts?

USAToday and Politifact? Did you even read the Politifact rebuttal? The lead medical "expert" it cited to discredit this story collaborated with a senior VP of Pfizer-BioNTech in the entire process of developing this experimental injection. Do you claim that someone up to his eyeballs in Big Pharma money and influence is going to find anything wrong with the drug he co-developed? Pull my other finger.

USAToday: "Public health officials say the coronavirus vaccines, which millions of Americans have received, are safe and effective at preventing severe COVID-19 cases." Another lie. If they had been PROVEN safe and effective they would have been approved in the normal way, as countless other vaccines have been. The fact that they are NOT approved means they have not been shown to be either safe or effective in any sense of the term that has been applied to vaccines until today.

I will be waiting to see GDN's expose of Fauci, his misrepresentations, his financial ties to those who are pushing this narrative and his interest in developing pathogens in a clinical setting that have the potential to kill millions.

Bailey Jones

oooh - an associate professor on a radio talk show... well I'm convinced. I have to admire the way you can always find the one person who can see "evidence" in the data that no other reputable scientist can see.

It's a shame he can't convince his fellow professors, or the authors of the studies he misrepresents.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2021/06/08/fact-check-proteins-covid-19-vaccines-arent-dangerous-toxins/7505236002/

I look forward to the publication of his peer reviewed scientific paper on the dangers of mRNA vaccines. I understand they also make your body magnetic and Bluetooth enabled.

DANIEL PICKETT

After receiving the Pfizer vaccine I noticed that my left wrist kept attracting metallic objects. When climbing stairs with an iron railing my wrist was sticking to the railing. I thought I was on to something big, after seeing the two ladies testify that the vaccine magnetized the body. After extensive investigation turns out it was not the vaccine. It was my magnetized FitBit watch band.

Bailey Jones

You'll probably want to call that in to a local radio show so it can get picked up by the internets.

Wayne D Holt

Bailey, I'm surprised you have such an aversion to this story as you have gulped down other narratives that were orders of magnitude more outlandish...later to be proven complete balderdash. Please see my response to Michael above.

Starting with your alarm at millions to die as you championed the claims of Ferguson at Imperial College, who already had a bad habit of making outrageous predictions that turned out to be nonsense. You then claimed it was due to patriots like you masking up, then taking an experimental injection. You never have been able to explain why those states with the most stringent lockdowns, draconian masking diktats and enforced social distancing fared no better--and often worse--than states that didn't go full Monty on the malarkey.

You like to pretend all the "reputable scientists" are on the same page on this issue. Nothing could be further from the truth. A year ago I was quoting chapter and verse from epidemiologists at Stanford about the many problems in how Covid was being considered. I have quoted those from Oxford, from Johns Hopkins, in the original story there was a mention of a senior researcher from MIT and on and on. I have provided citations for a year that you, almost without exception, fail to refute. You do know when you quit the field it is tantamount to admitting you don't have a response, right?

I think the nadir of your strained perception was your outburst in equating not taking the vaccine with cowardice and disloyalty to country. That was shut down with the reported fact up to 40% of US Marines were refusing to take the shot.

You have a quaint, almost endearing, ability to overlook the history of lies, corruption, greed, power seeking and callous indifference to human beings that characterizes the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical leviathan and its wholly owned subsidiary in the US government. The latter has a long and lurid history of experimenting on minorities, the mentally challenged and just the unsuspecting for any one of a thousand self-serving reasons. Covid is just the latest and greatest installment of that movie.

By all means, continue to be enchanted with the charade. It is probably less unsettling for you that way.

Wayne D Holt

For all you "It's the Science" Guys who frequent these boards: For over a year, you bought into the mounting death toll as your outlook became darker and darker, and your opinion of Trump worse and worse, with each tragic update.

Within a matter of weeks after China Joe was installed in the White House, by some miraculous re-evaluation, the cycle count of the PCR tests were standardized significantly lower, which immediately resulted in plummeting Covid case counts. The conspiracy theorists among those here had pointed out what was being done six month before or even earlier. It just took a Fauci/CDC thumb being removed from the statistical scale to begin to give us numbers that were approaching reality.

So much for your science, as shoveled out by USA Today--the journalistic equivalent of a radio talk show host--Politifact and other organs of the Uniparty intent on keeping the charade going just a little longer.

Bailey Jones

Wayne, you've been a COVID denier since day one. You've spent the last 15 months dredging the depths of the internet for any scrap of information that bolstered that idea - while ignoring the torrent of COVID deaths - 600,000 Americans so far - and millions of hospitalizations.

You're also the guy who believes that Biden wears a secret earphone so his secret dark state handlers can tell him what to say. You're the guy who immediately bought into Trump's Big Lie, and presumably still believes it. You're the guy who characterized the Jan 6th attackers as "uninvited tourists".

So, you should not be surprised that I think you're a crackpot. Please get vaccinated.

Wayne D Holt

Re that crack about being a crackpot:

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

― J. Krishnamurti

Wayne D Holt

CNN reported Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) advisory committee now acknowledges a higher-than-expected number of cases of heart inflammation among 16- to 24-year-olds who recently received a second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines.

Based on a May 24 report from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical Work Group (VaST), the CDC on June 1 updated its website with the following language:

“Data from VAERS [Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System] show that in the 30-day window following dose 2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccination, there was a higher number of observed than expected myocarditis/pericarditis cases in 16–24-year-olds.”

The Oregon Health Authority said it was aware of at least 11 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis — inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart — in all age groups following COVID vaccination, according to The Oregonian.

CDC officials have not directly communicated to the public about any possible risk of myocarditis with the vaccines. CDC declined CNN's request to speak with an expert, instead issuing a statement by a spokesman.

There you go, Bailey. One more entry in the litany of lies that this injection is safe and that the public is getting the full story on mRNA vaccines. Don't you ever get tired of losing?

Bailey Jones

Wayne, I'm not sure where you get your news, but I heard about this on NPR. It's not some deep dark secret that the CDC is keeping from the public. It's on their website along with all the other adverse information about the vaccines.

Nothing is 100% safe. Are you one of the millions of people who takes a baby aspirin every day to ward off strokes? The odds of dying from that are 1 in 20,000.

In the 24 hours since this GCDN article was published, 300 more people have died from COVID. 598,280 Americans (1 in 558 Americans) have been killed by this virus so far. They continue to die because people like you refuse to get vaccinated. The odds of dying from COVID are currently 1 in 558, and increasing every single day. The odds of you getting myocarditis from the vaccine is exceedingly low (11 out of how many million vaccinations?) As far as I know, not a single death has been attributed to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Getting vaccinated is one of the safest things you can do. That's the science.

Wayne D Holt

A case report examining myocarditis in seven adolescents following vaccination with Pfizer’s jab, published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, this month, said all seven developed the inflammation within 4 days of receiving the second dose, did not have evidence of COVID-19 infection, and did not meet the criteria for MIS-C, a rare disease. The seven males, between the ages of 14 and 19, all required hospital care but each was eventually discharged.

SO...they were not infected with Covid but the shot appears to have triggered a reaction in a distant part of the body from the injection site. It was a reaction significant enough to send them to the hospital.

How is inflammation of an organ non-proximate to the injection site play into the safe shot fantasy? We're told that inflammation of the injection site is a normal byproduct of the antibody reaction. So, what is causing a reaction when there are no Covid virii to trigger the reaction, and it's happening in a part of the body distant from the injection site?

Bailey, you're strong on The Science. Can you offer a plausible explanation here?

Bailey Jones

Sure, Wayne, they probably had a reaction to the vaccine. We'll know for sure when these, and future, cases are studied more. Myocarditis can be caused by an infection or allergic reaction - both of which are possible with any vaccine.

Fun fact - give a million teenage boys a peanut butter sandwich and 20,000 of them will have an anaphylaxis reaction. And 1 in 200 of those will die.

Wayne D Holt

Peanut allergies are listed on every food product you'll ever find in the store. That's called being fully informed.

Where were the warnings of the adverse reactions that have been occurring by the thousands after these shots were given? Oh, that's right. You believe with all your heart the insanely inflated fatality count that double counted, miscounted (see Galveston Co. health stats) and completely unrelated deaths totaled to...but thousands of heretofore unexpected adverse reactions to a completely unproven vaccine is just a coincidence because the people who developed and pushed it told you so.

That makes crackpots look like the model of sober objectivity by comparison.

Bailey Jones

Wayne, if you had been vaccinated you'd know where "the warnings of the adverse reactions that have been occurring by the thousands" are. They're on the informed consent form you sign before you get the shot. And the informed consent you click on when you set up your appointment. And at the CDC website. And in the "MSM" every single day. Where do you live that you aren't aware of this stuff? You might want to pull your head out of there.

Wayne D Holt

I don't have a lot of time to waste going over this yet again since you don't seem to be able to understand simple English, Bailey. But here is the executive summary.

The FDA Covid vaccine fact sheet at https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download lists 17 broad adverse reaction conditions, some severe. In addition to these, the fact sheet states: "These may not be all the possible side effects of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. Serious and unexpected side effects may occur. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is still being studied in clinical trials."

Just to spell it out, that means besides the garden variety body blows this shot can inflict, there are others that they are not even able to anticipate because if you take the shot, you're part of the experiment. Which is odd because they never once mention the word "experiment" among the so-called facts, even though the protocols all state that is what it is and trials won't even be concluded until 2023. Lucky for them they can outright kill you with this and you can't do one damn thing about it to hold them liable.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine website states in the very first paragraph: "In countries where the vaccine has not been approved by the relevant regulatory authority (the US is one-my note), it is an investigational drug, and its safety and efficacy have not been established."

That means NOTHING you claim as to either its record of safety nor what it able to achieve in those exposed to Covid is true...you're simply blowing smoke. Actually, you're blowing secondhand smoke because you continue to just repeat whatever talking points the CDC random opinion generator spews out that day.

Why do you continue to fabricate a narrative of safe use when both the manufacturer and the US regulatory agency that supervises this rollout don't make that claim? I see you mention the CDC and MSM among your go-to info sources. That goes a long way in explaining why you continue to parrot the Big Pharma song and dance and think researchers from Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Oxford, MIT, Boston University etc. means I'm "dredging the depths of the internet for any scrap of information that bolstered that idea." Why, yes, Bailey. That's called being open minded to the opinions of some of the best research in virology and epidemiology on planet earth. You, however, luxuriate in your adoration of an industry that boasts a history of paying fines in the billions of dollars for medical malpractice that cripples and kills Americans by the thousands each year.

Whatever the name for healthcare Stockholm Syndrome is, you appear to be suffering from an acute case of it. Better have that looked at.

Bailey Jones

I do agree with you in one respect, Wayne. Due to this plague being unprecedented in modern times, it is very much a science experiment. Not only for medical science, but for social science as well. You've chosen to be part of the control group. On behalf of the vaccinated group, thanks.

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