Vaccine mandate projected to impact holiday season

Annaliese Witmer, Staff Reporter

Vaccines are sweeping the nation. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),, around 66% of the U.S. population has at least one shot of the vaccine, and approximately 57% of the population is fully-vaccinated. 

President Biden, alongside the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), suggested a plan on vaccine mandate is being reviewed by the White House, according to WhiteHouse.gov. OSHA’s plan consists of mandating any company with over 100 employees to require all workers to be vaccinated or biweekly Covid-19 testing. 

Two other mandates were also recently passed. These mandates include mandating health care workers to be vaccinated and federal workers and contractors in contact with federal workers to also be vaccinated. 

How this mandate will be enforced is not known at this time, but what we do know is that this will impact our own local businesses. 

Most local businesses are already having trouble finding workers. According to Pennsylvania’s Center for Workforce Information and Analysis and the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s, COVID-19 Vacccine Dashboard, since the beginnig of Covid-19 in March of 2020 until now, the unemployment rate has gone up 1.3% in our state alone. However, within the last year, the unemployment rate has gone down 3.8%. With that being said, during the height of the pandemic we saw the lowest employment rate in nine years. Furthermore, the unemployment rate has gone up 1.4% since before the pandemic started.

According to CNBC, companies are asking the White House to wait until after the holiday season to implement the vaccine mandate. Their worry is even more of a supply chain shortage and labor shortage due to the mandate. Trucking companies are estimated to lose 37% of their workers just due to the mandate. They are already short 80,000 employees. This could cause an issue come Christmas for online shopping industries such as Amazon. 

Furthermore, 3 in 10 workers say they would leave their job over a testing or vaccine mandate. 

According to OPB News, in Oregon, hospitals that had 80% of employees vaccinated pre-mandate now have a vaccine rate between 88% and 95%. The mandate is made to protect the vulnerable such as the elderly and children.

At this point and time, we are not sure how this mandate will affect us locally, but only time will tell.