Opinion | Vaccine Mandates, and Anger at the Unvaccinated


To the Editor:

Re “Vaccinated Aim Anger at Those Who’ve Said No” and “2 Key Regions Give Workers Choice: Vaccines or Tests” (front page, July 27):

Yes, I’m angry. Thanks to Republican elected officials and conservative media spreading not just misinformation but outright lies, the Covid-19 pandemic has rebounded instead of vanished. The economic costs are in the billions, the human costs incalculable and the societal costs vast. Meanwhile, the virus has the opportunity to mutate to something even more contagious and more lethal.

It’s long past time for vaccine mandates, at work, for access to public places and for schoolchildren age 12 and older to return to their classrooms. Elected officials must do their jobs and mandate vaccines — as Gov. Gavin Newsom in California and Mayor Bill de Blasio in New York City have — before it’s too late.

To the vaccine resisters, I say, “Love it or leave it.” If you don’t like being protected by your government, go to countries where people aren’t getting vaccinated because they don’t have vaccine to administer.

Daniel Fink
Beverly Hills, Calif.
The writer is an internist.

To the Editor:

Re “New York Mayor Urges Employers to Require Shots” (front page, July 24):

Unions came into being in order to protect the work force; how perverse it is that not only are many unions not voicing support for requiring employees to be vaccinated, but they are actually opposing Covid vaccine mandates. If the purpose of unions now is to effectuate rather than prevent harms, something is very wrong.

Debbie Plumer

To the Editor:

Republicans nationwide face a dilemma; they must reverse their tacit approval of misinformation and conspiracy around vaccines in order to save the voters who keep them in power. That risks alienating their most ardent supporters.

Some are trying to thread the needle by admitting they have taken the vaccine while still defending the “individual rights” to refuse and deflecting political responsibility onto the controversy surrounding the origin of the virus. Shame on them for being responsible for continuing deaths.

Vaccines save lives and prevent transmission and introduction of variants. But vaccines cannot save us from ourselves if we refuse to acknowledge facts. The F.D.A. should grant full approval for the Covid vaccines, and they should be required for attendance at schools, religious gatherings, sports and entertainment events, travel and even employment.

Opinion Conversation
Questions surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine and its rollout.

It’s not too late to renew the social contract and recognize our connection to one another. It’s time to allow civic responsibility to outweigh our love of individual rights.

Mollie Basu
Berkeley, Calif.

To the Editor:

Re “N.F.L. Puts Stiff Penalties in Place for Unvaccinated, Jolting Teams” (Sports, July 24):

This N.F.L. policy is brilliant. No one can whine about being forced to be vaccinated against their will. But players are accountable for the costs to others of their refusing a safe, effective Covid-19 vaccination, such as forfeiture of games and players not getting paid. Accepting responsibility for one’s choices is surely a principle that all people can agree on.

Naomi Stephen
Cambridge, Mass.

To the Editor:

The vaccination campaign now must target Trump supporters and Black Americans. Imagine this Donald Trump and Barack Obama 30-second ad:

Obama: “We don’t agree on much.”

Trump: “We hardly agree on anything, but we do agree on one thing: You should get the Covid vaccine now!”

Obama: “I couldn’t agree more!”


Why this should be a pipe dream rather than the most effective public service announcement imaginable is what is so sad. It just takes two grown men to agree to do it.

Robert Gordon
Scottsdale, Ariz.

To the Editor:

Re “Congress: Don’t Give Biden $4 Trillion” (Opinion guest essay, July 26):

Michael R. Strain dislikes policies that invest in education, Medicare, other health programs and climate change.

This country has endured 18 months of hell. The programs being endorsed by most Democrats but not Republicans are meant to get people back on their feet and enhance their opportunities and way of life.

Much of what President Biden is endorsing is popular among all voters and is long overdue. It’s time to stop viewing policies as red or blue. We are one country. Let’s keep that in mind and act accordingly.

Frank Gunsberg
Great Barrington, Mass.

To the Editor:

I am a lifelong Democrat, and I do not think that I am alone among Democrats in my concern over spending by the Biden administration.

I like Joe Biden and I voted for him, but the huge amount of approved spending has got to be accounted for before we approve more.

I would feel more comfortable if Mr. Biden appointed a “spending accountability czar” who regularly communicated with the American taxpayers in plain language about where money is going, how much has been spent, and what future commitments we’ve made.

I hope to vote in at least six or seven more federal elections, so pay attention to me!

Sheila Reilly
Jamestown, R.I.

To the Editor:

Re “I’m Often Wide Awake at 3 A.M. How Do I Get Back to Sleep?” (Ask Well, Science Times, July 20):

I have a long relationship with insomnia, from elementary school age into retirement age. I have finally found a solution that works for me.

After menopause, I would wake up in the middle of the night, start worrying and go down the rabbit hole, unable to go back to sleep. I was frustrated and exhausted and tried all of the actions recommended in the article. None of them worked. But I finally found something that did.

I listen to “The Great Courses” audiobooks on a Bluetooth headband. I wake up several times at night, listen to a bit of medieval history or about the voyage of the Beagle, and fall back asleep quickly and easily.

The particular book is important. It needs to be interesting enough to catch your attention more than your worries do, yet not interesting enough to keep you awake. For me history and science work best, but others might find different subjects better.

I discovered this solution as one of my children was having a rough patch, and it kept me from unproductive worrying. It kept me sane through the pandemic. It works, and it seems to have no downside.

OK, sometimes my hair does look pretty wild when I wake up after all night with a headband, but I can live with that.

Lucia Johnson
Austin, Texas

To the Editor:

For years, Republicans have dominated the semantics game by labeling Democrats as socialists whenever they pass, or seek to pass, any progressive legislation from the New Deal through the Affordable Care Act and beyond. They have also labeled them as Communists, particularly during the Joe McCarthy era.

The time has arrived when Democrats need to stop playing nice and label Trump Republicans for what they truly are. They are neo-fascists. These are not traditional conservative Republicans; these are true fascists.

They believe in: 1) a strongman, right or wrong, no matter how outrageous his lies or actions; 2) the Big Lie about election fraud; 3) white supremacy, male preferred; 4) armed insurrection if they do not get their way; 5) limits on free speech and assembly by their opponents; 6) a police state, where the police can do no wrong; 7) unlimited access to guns; 8) financial control for and on behalf of oligarchs (one-percenters whose only interest is fattening their wallets).

If this is not fascism, what is it?

Tom Barnard
Shaker Heights, Ohio