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RICHMOND (LifeSiteNews) — As hospitals continue to weather staffing shortages brought on by mandates that employees receive COVID-19 vaccines, some hospital systems across the country are compensating by allowing some workers who have COVID itself to return to duty.

Over the weekend, the California Department of Public Health announced “temporary flexibility to help hospitals and emergency services providers respond to an unprecedented surge and staffing shortages” by allowing asymptomatic employees to come back to work. The department cautioned it should only be done after hospitals “exhaust all other options,” and even then, afflicted workers should “interact only with COVID-19 positive patients to the extent possible.”

University of California San Francisco epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford told NBC Bay Area that resorting to infected workers is not unprecedented, but California Nurses Association president Sandy Reding said she remains “very concerned. If you have health care workers who are COVID positive care for vulnerable populations, we can spread the COVID virus inside the hospital as well.” 

“Allowing employers to bring back workers who may still be infectious is one of the worst ideas I have heard during this pandemic, and that’s really saying something,” Bob Schoonover, president of the California chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), told CBS Sacramento.

While evidence does show that the asymptomatic are unlikely to spread COVID, the same is true of those who are asymptomatic and unvaccinated. Further, some hospitals are even more “flexible” — ABC News reports that some hospitals in Arizona and Rhode Island “have likewise told employees they can stay on the job if they have no symptoms or just mild ones.”

Across the United States, mandates for doctors, nurses, and other staffers to receive the relatively-new COVID shots — some voluntarily imposed by hospitals themselves, some by state governments, and one by the Biden administration (though it remains unenforced pending Supreme Court review) — have contributed to staffing shortages that have put a strain on medical services

“Mandates that were put into effect last year by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, required health care workers to get COVID-19 vaccines or face termination,” the Epoch Times reports. “Health giant Kaiser Permanente suspended more than 2,000 employees who were not vaccinated in October. Other California systems such as Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and Sutter Health also terminated or suspended their employees who weren’t vaccinated in the fall of 2021.”

Hesitancy toward the COVID-19 vaccines persists thanks in large part to the fact that, under the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, they were developed and released in a tenth of the time vaccine development usually takes and a quarter of the time it took the previous record-holder, the mumps vaccine.

Vaccine defenders note that this one-year development period was not starting from scratch, but rather relied on years of prior research into mRNA technology; and that one of the innovations of Operation Warp Speed was conducting various aspects of the development process concurrently rather than sequentially, eliminating delays unrelated to safety. However, those factors do not fully account for the condensing of clinical trial phases — each of which can take anywhere from 1-3 years on their own — to just three months apiece.

While cases of severe harm reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) after taking COVID shots represent less than one percent of total doses administered in the United States, a 2010 report submitted to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) warned that VAERS caught “fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events.” Last May, NBC News quoted several mainstream experts acknowledging “gaps” in federal vaccine monitoring.

Further, data indicates that widespread dissemination of the COVID vaccines has failed to end the pandemic. The federal government considers more than 207 million Americans (62% of the eligible) to be “fully vaccinated” (a moving target given the vaccines’ temporary nature), yet data from Johns Hopkins University reported in October shows that more Americans died of COVID-19 by that point in 2021 (353,000) than in all of 2020 (352,000). The Moderna vaccine has been available throughout all of 2021; the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson shots were made available in late February.

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