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Start of vaccine mandate for city workers pushed back a week

Although the Covid-19 vaccine mandate still technically starts tomorrow, Live Boston reports the city won't actually start enforcing it until Jan. 24.

Live Boston reports employees who have yet to get a shot by Jan. 18 will get a notice that they have until the end of their work week to get a shot. Then, starting on Jan. 24, workers without proof of at least partial vaccination will be put on unpaid administrative leave.

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Strange....why allow for a delay? If the vaccination mandate is necessary because of such a dire public health emergency how can they justify public safety by even a 1 day delay?

Side note, can you believe children can't ice skate without showing a private medical record? That doesn't sound like the Boston I grew up in.

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Why Live Boston instead of the GBH story? GBH has a lot more context, none of the reflexive “we hate Wu” slant.*


*Is everyone besides Live Boston just missing out on “yet another example of the chaos that is reportedly occurring behind the scenes at City Hall” or is Live Boston just getting high on their own BS?

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And I will tip my hat to Adam for getting the news he aggregates from a variety of sources.

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If you need four dozen pictures of cops standing around and shining flashlights, live boston is a fine source.* But their reporting on vaccine mandates (including the state troopers and corrections employees) is only regurgitating the unions’ arguments — each and every one of which has been rejected by the courts.

Live boston might’ve broke the story, but that was five hours before Adam posted. Meanwhile GBH shared a lot more pertinent information, for example that 700 additional employees have gotten vaccinated since Monday alone, that 17,400 of the roughly 18,000 city employees are in at least partial compliance (16,900 of those are fully vaccinated and documented), and that Wu will provide an update on Saturday. There’s even a tidbit for mandate opponents in there: the rules around getting a reasonable accommodation are murky.

Go with the better source: https://www.wgbh.org/news/politics/2022/01/14/mayor-wu-extends-vaccinati...

*Of course their breathless “look at these hero police!” reporting on crime never extends to crime committed by police.

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And if you don't like the links the person who runs this website chooses, just don't click on them.

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Liveboston does a good job writing articles about things that rarely any other media in this city (besides uHub) are willing to talk about: mainly street violence and what our police, fire and ems are dealing with on a daily basis. I do wish they’d tone down their rhetoric a bit though.

WGBH does a good job writing about the dysfunction that can occur in a city agency, like the police department (which Boston isn’t immune to), and is a good source for what’s happening behind the scenes of our city institutions. I do wish they’d done town their rhetoric a bit though.

Basically what I’m saying is: Did you know that it’s possible to read several news sources that cover that political spectrum and then make up your mind for yourself?

- a Boston Cop

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What are these civil-rights related reasons for vaccine exemption in the city of Boston?

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And look, as a Catholic, I look askance at my coreligionists saying that they cannot get vaccinated for religious reasons. The head of the church has been out front about how the faithful should get jabbed. That said, there may be some religion that 3 years ago had some part of their doctrine that forbids something or other that ends up with no Covid shots. I just don't know what the religion is, except that it isn't Catholicism and most mainline Christian churches.

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So what would a religious reason be?

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As far as I know, you're right: there's no large religious group whose beliefs and practices forbid vaccination. For these purposes, that doesn't matter--the courts try not to get involved in "is that a real religion?" or "you said X, but the leadership of your religion says non-X," because that would get into establishment of religion. The moment a court or legislature said something like "for the purposes of government policy, Catholics believe exactly what the Pope says" or even "you have to identify the bishop, rabbi, imam, or preacher who teaches this in order to be protected," they would be establishing religion.

"Sincerely held belief" is also fuzzy as a standard, in part because those claims tend to come up when someone wants to do, or not do, something that is otherwise government policy. You don't need to claim constitutional protection if what you believe you should do is also what the law tells you to do.

[Disclaimers: I am not a lawyer, and also I disagree with some Supreme Court decisions on the subject of establishment of religion. This is a layperson's description.]

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"Sincerely held belief" is also fuzzy as a standard, in part because those claims tend to come up when someone wants to do, or not do, something that is otherwise government policy.

You missed a very important word there. According to the First Amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." There's a whole other argument to be made about where the limits of "free exercise" stand, but leaving that aside, the Constitution explicitly protects the exercise of religion, not just of any actions arising from a "sincerely held belief". This is particularly important because in these latter days, organized religions are less and less likely to grant an imprimatur to those who want to commit actions that are harmful to others under the fig leaf of religion. Specific to the pandemic, you won't find a religion that is willing to provide a doctrinal excuse for refusing vaccination. So, people are making shit up. They are calling their own personal beliefs "sincerely held religious beliefs" without any religious authority. Going by the Constitution, they don't have an argument -- and it doesn't matter, because with vanishingly few exceptions, every person in a position of authority in this country is a complete coward when it comes to standing up to religious overreach. All anyone has to say is "it's my religious belief" and they can do any damn stupid obnoxious antisocial thing they want, and no one will stand up to them or protect their victims. Because religion is obscenely privileged in this country, and particularly Christianity; because no one has the courage or the integrity to try to put a muzzle on it, and reassert the rights of secular society. I don't see that changing. But please, can we at least stop this absurd pretense that, even if you accept that "sincerely held religious beliefs" should allow you to behave in ways that are harmful to others (which I do not), these are by any definition "sincerely held religious beliefs"? They may indeed be "sincerely held beliefs", but they are not "religious". They are the beliefs of an individual or group, unsanctioned by any religion, or by anything but their own selfish desires.

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For anyone who is in a hurry due to a workplace requirement, the Fenway site is particularly well-run. It's easy to sign up for an appointment but they seem to accept walk-ins too. It's spacious with good ventilation and high ceilings, literally everyone is masked, and at the time I visited, it only took minutes before I was sitting down at a table to receive the vaccine. Unfortunately, no beer is available during the clinics tho, and there weren't any singalongs.

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