Some of you might say that it is time to move past discussion of public policy missteps related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, leaders of many work environments – including large health-care organizations – stubbornly refuse to understand and react to fundamental truths, the acknowledgment of which could alleviate critical labour shortages.
Vaccine mandates were ill-founded from the outset, but even more absurd is the fact that there are still many jurisdictions in which employees who were fired for not taking the shots have not been welcomed back.
For example, in my home province of British Columbia, Canada, roughly 2,500 health-care workers were fired for non-compliance with the provincial health order requiring COVID vaccination. Many more workers quit or went into early retirement.
Currently, there are more than 5,800 unfilled nursing positions, according to the B.C. Nurses’ Union.
Now, if you are still hiding under a rock in the belief that the COVID vaccines saved lives, that the mandates made sense, and that the health-care workers who refused to take a COVID shot deserved to be fired, here are some quick facts supported by cogent data analysis:
• Healthy humans have not faced a statistically significant risk of severe outcome from COVID-19 infection: COVID context – how concerned should we be about dying from this virus?
• COVID-19 was not even in the top 10 causes of death for people in every age category under 60 years in 2020: A look back at causes of death in the first year of COVID-19
• By late 2021, we knew that the vaccines were causing severe side effects including among healthy people – Analysis of severe events following COVID vaccine shows increased incidence of myocarditis and lymphadenopathy
• The majority of excess deaths during the pandemic were not in the elderly age groups and were not from COVID. Most excess deaths in the region scrutinized (Alberta) were among people age 20-59 and from a wide range of causes …
The workers who refused to comply with vaccine mandates had many logical reasons to do so. So, why are numerous government and health bodies not taking the logical step to alleviate labour shortages – simply hiring back the qualified people who were needlessly fired?
Unfortunately – and we have all seen this behaviour in our friend and family groups – a lot of folks are reluctant to admit mistakes. They typically double-down and cause even more damage – and, ultimately, more personal and professional humiliation – rather than acknowledge mistakes publicly.
The level of denial in this matter is particularly deep. Most medical officials, politicians, and mainstream news media organizations in the western world got the pandemic horribly wrong. Part of the collateral damage from the remarkably myopic lock-down-and-vaccinate-or-else approach has been far too many young people dying.
So, I understand the hesitation among individuals, corporations, and institutions to avoid accountability. No one wants to say, “Yeah, my insistence on compliance helped lead to the premature deaths of a lot of young people.”
The cognitive dissonance is real. And it is thick.
But enough is enough.
To help plug some of the increasingly large holes in the health system, the British Columbia government is currently shelling out millions of dollars to entice travelling nurses to work here. And they are being paid much more than local nurses.
It stands to reason that health-care workers who cared enough about their own health and possessed the fortitude to lose their jobs might also care about other humans more than the average health-care worker. The health regions not only fired thousands of health-care workers; they likely fired a lot of the best workers.
I have a simple message for politicians and leaders in health care and business:
Get over yourselves and hire the best people available – the people you fired without just cause. In the health-care realm, it is a matter of life and death.