In an editorial, Hoboken Business Administrator Jason Freeman shares his thoughts on why vaccinations are the best way to prevent the severe impacts of COVID-19 in light of the city mandating inoculations or testing/mask wearing for municipal employees.
On Friday, July 29th , 2021 Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla signed an Executive Order requiring all City of Hoboken Employees to show proof of vaccination or submit a negative COVID test result on a weekly basis.
This was the latest in a string of preventative measures we have taken since March 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Hoboken. Throughout this pandemic, our City of Hoboken employees have shown incredible flexibility and adaptability.
They’ve successfully navigated new check-in protocols, new work schedules, social distancing guidelines, and mask requirements.
Their participation in these forward-thinking, preventative measures, put in place by the Mayor, have led to zero outbreaks of COVID-19 in City Hall. Zero. And for the employees who did contract COVID-19, everyone has since made full recoveries.
A lot of this success can be attributed to our vaccinated employees. The easiest way to prevent oneself from dealing with the severe impacts of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. Period. Hard stop.
My family and I were vaccinated the first day we got the call saying it was our turn. I believe in vaccines, I support the science behind them, and I know that they are saving countless lives across the globe.
If there are people who do not want to get vaccinated, while I may not agree with that choice, I recognize they may not yet feel fully comfortable with a vaccine (although
proven to be safe) still in “Emergency Use Authorization.”
So, as we began to watch numbers of cases rise, we knew we had to put in place additional
preventative measures to continue to keep our employees as safe as possible, while also
keeping City Hall open and functioning, but had to honor and respect those who were uneasy about vaccines.
So, we chose to offer two ways to adhere to the policy – proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test and wearing a mask.
Quickly after announcing this policy, I began to receive emails and social media notifications invoking Nazi Germany policy, the Nuremberg Code, and other Holocaust associations.
This is as a false and offensive of a comparison as you can you find.
The Nuremberg Code was a set of research ethics created from the Nuremberg Trials after
World War Two where Nazis were tried for their war crimes, specifically the attempted
extermination of among others, Jews, prisoners of war, LGBTQ individuals, Gypsies, and those with disabilities.
A vaccine and testing policy, created and distributed to save lives is being compared to the
policies of Nazis who aimed to destroy entire races of people.
I know the impacts of the Holocaust better than most. My grandmother and great grandparents escaped Austria after it was taken over by Germany, because their landlord lied to the authorities about them being Jewish.
They were the lucky ones. Six million other Jews were not.
Life right now is hard, and at times, uncertain. But that is not an excuse to use extremist
language when speaking about vaccines or testing protocols.
This is not only unhelpful, but also offensive and actively jeopardizes the safety of our neighbors. White Nationalism is on the rise.
AntiSemitic incidents are up 75% in New Jersey in the last year. Hate Crimes against Asian
Americans are up 149% since last year.
And that rise is aided every time the vaccine is falsely equated to anything related to Nazi
We do not know what the COVID-19 pandemic will hand us next; 4.2 million people worldwide have already died, over 600,000 in the United States. But we cannot use that as an excuse to forget history or gloss over the science that vaccines are effective.
Each one of us must continue to do our part to keep ourselves and our communities, as safe as possible and beat back this virus.
Business Administrator, City of Hoboken