Letter to the editor: No right to expose others

To the editor:

My partner and I are disabled and over 70. We’ve had our 95% effective COVID vaccinations. This leaves a 5% risk each.

We are reliant on visiting helpers, handypeople, nurses, etc., but allowing unvaccinated providers in our house would be foolish. Yet when we contact service providers more often than not we get pushback. They claim it violates rights or laws to require or even inquire about vaccination.

They are dead wrong. No one has any right to expose my house to potentially deadly diseases. Employers and clients have an absolute right to demand healthy employee practices. Here are the facts:

1. No, HIPAA does not prevent employers or clients from obtaining vaccination information. HIPAA laws only apply to medical and insurance providers — and they can share information with anyone with the patient’s consent. Employers have a right to ask.

2. No, the ADA does not protect employees from vaccination requirements. Refusing vaccination may be stupid, but that’s not a covered disability.

3. Almost no medical conditions permanently contra-indicate vaccination. Vaccines work poorly on some immunocompromised people and are contra-indicated while sick or before an operation.

4. The only significant U.S. religion opposed to vaccination is the Christian Scientists. An employer can make exceptions for Christian Scientists, but there is no legal requirement.

5. Summary: No laws prevent employers and clients from demanding vaccination. Typhoid Mary has no special rights. No one gets to harm others based on antiscientific beliefs.

David Burress,



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