Well Being

Vaccine mandates work, most people support them, and it's maddening that we even need them at all

Vaccine mandates work, most people support them, and it's maddening that we even need them at all

As debates over vaccine mandates raged this summer, United Airlines took the decisive step to require all employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Employees who applied and were approved for a medical or religious exemption would be placed on medical leave and risk losing income. Those who refused the vaccine and did not receive an exemption would be terminated.

The not-messing-around approach worked smashingly. Prior to the deadline, only a fraction of a percent of United's staff—320 out of 67,000 employees—ended up choosing termination. That left United Airlines with an astounding 99.5% vaccination rate.

United took a risk and it paid off. Not only did the company retain the vast majority of its workforce, but applicants started clamoring to work for the airline. According to The New York Times, the airline received 20,000 applications for approximately 2,000 flight attendant positions after the vaccine mandate was announced.

United kicked off a trend. Other airlines followed suit, and we saw more and more companies requiring employees to be vaccinated.

Vaccine mandates have proven successful, but not without controversy. Within an already understaffed health care industry, the risk of losing employees who refuse to be vaccinated is real. So is the risk of unvaccinated health care workers treating patients.

In California, mandates for health care workers resulted in a huge uptick in vaccinations. The same thing happened in Texas. Despite predictions of a mass exodus of New York and New Jersey health care workers, only a small number chose to quit when mandates took effect. In fact, many of those who chose to stay on and take the alternative weekly testing option decided to get vaccinated after just a few weeks of being swabbed.

Mandates clearly work—but it's maddening that we have had to resort to them. Some success stories have proven that mandates aren't always necessary to reach a high vaccination rate. After being the only team in the NFL to have zero COVID-19 cases during last season, the Seattle Seahawks made a strong push to get their staff and players vaccinated. The NFL asked for teams to try for an 85% vaccination rate; with just one player declining, the Seahawks hit a whopping 99% vaccination rate weeks before the football season even began. By the time the season officially started, the NFL reported that 93% of players across the league had been vaccinated—a far higher percentage than the general population.

Perhaps that's due to the stringent protocols players who aren't vaccinated have to go through. Perhaps it's the sense of competition within the league and the knowledge that COVID-19 outbreaks can derail a team's chances of a winning season. Perhaps it's because NFL players are supportive of science and common sense than the average American. Whatever it is, the NFL has proven it's possible to create a culture that results in a high vaccination rate without mandates.

If only we could figure out how to create that culture in this country as a whole.

There are legitimate debates to be had about the government mandating vaccines (despite public schools having mandated vaccinations for more than a century), but it's harder to argue against private businesses and organizations requiring them as a condition of employment or participation. People sure do try, though. Anti-vaxxers and "freedom fighters" who disagree with all manner of mandates in the name of personal liberty are loud and proud in their stance. But that doesn't mean they're right.

According to Gallup, the majority of Americans support COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Other polls, including one from Fox News, have found the same thing. If mandates are going to help us stop losing tens of thousands of Americans every month, bring them on.

In a global pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 700,000 Americans in a year and a half, vaccines that lower the risk of infection and transmission and greatly lower the risk of hospitalization and death are a gift. Mandate or no mandate, getting vaccinated is objectively the right thing to do. It would be fabulous if we could get to a high vaccination rate without creating requirements, but with few exceptions (like the NFL), that ideal has proven to be unrealistic.

If it weren't for the massive misinformation machine derailing reality for millions, far fewer people would refuse the vaccine. We're battling a crisis of viral conspiracy theories in addition to the actual viral pandemic, and something has to give.


Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

Keep ReadingShow less

Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

Keep ReadingShow less

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

Keep ReadingShow less

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.


Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

Keep ReadingShow less

The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

Keep ReadingShow less