by Raywat Deonandan, PhD
Epidemiologist & Associate Professor
University of Ottawa
(I add my credentials to these COVID-19 blog posts in case they get shared. I want readers to know that my opinion is supposedly an educated and informed one)
A common question I am asked is, “Are COVID-19 vaccine mandates still justified in 2023?”
There is a lot to unpack in that question. First, were COVID vaccine mandates ever justified? That depends on your institution’s values. But strictly from an epidemiological perspective –and not a rights perspective– I believe that workplace mandates were largely justified in the pre-Omicron era, so long as accommodations were made for those unable/unwilling to comply (like mandatory testing).
Second, what would make mandates justified, again strictly from an epidemiological lens? Well, in most cases, the mandates were meant to accomplish two goals and possibly a third: (a) to slow transmission of the disease, (b) to get us closer to herd immunity, and (c) to keep people out of the hospital and morgue. (more…)