Commentary: I am Challenging the Vaccine Mandate to Protect My Workers’ Jobs

Blue Collar Worker

The Biden administration has finally published its anticipated ultimatum threatening companies like mine with severe fines and penalties for not firing any employee who declines to be vaccinated against or submit to invasive weekly testing for COVID-19. The new rule promulgated by the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under the guise of workplace safety may well bankrupt the business my father founded. So, as the CEO of the Phillips Manufacturing & Tower Company, I am joining with The Buckeye Institute to challenge OSHA’s vaccine mandate in court. Here’s why.

Phillips is a 54-year-old company based in Shelby, Ohio, that manufactures specialty welded steel tubing for automotive, appliance, and construction industries. OSHA’s emergency rule applies to companies with 100 or more employees — at our Shelby Welded Tube facility, we employ 104 people. As a family-owned business I take the health of my workers seriously — they are my neighbors and my friends. When I heard of the mandate, we conducted a survey of our workers to see what the impacts would be. It revealed that 28 Phillips employees are fully vaccinated, while antibody testing conducted at company expense found that another 16 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies and likely possess natural immunity. At least 47 employees have indicated that they have not and will not be vaccinated. Seventeen of those 47 unvaccinated workers said that they would quit or be fired before complying with the vaccine or testing mandate. Those are 17 skilled workers that Phillips cannot afford to lose.

Perhaps the Biden administration remains unaware of the labor shortage currently plaguing the U.S. labor market generally and industrial manufacturing especially. Like many companies, Phillips is already understaffed, with seven job openings we have been unable to fill. Employees already work overtime to keep pace with customer demand, working 10-hour shifts, six days a week on average. Firing 17 veteran members of the Phillips team certainly won’t help.

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Commentary: Our Vaccine Status Is None of Their Business

Vaccination card

I stand with all my fellow Americans—both vaccinated and unvaccinated. And because I do, I recently refused to disclose my vaccination status. And you should, too.

I was invited to speak at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Law about the many public and private mandates enacted, supposedly, to address COVID-19—all of which I oppose. I view vaccine mandates, for example, as the most totalitarian commands we have seen in this country since the days of eugenics-based forced sterilization—leading science, at the time.

Ironically, one week before my scheduled speech, I was told that school bureaucrats mandated off-campus visitors like me confirm they are vaccinated. Many will say that sharing this private health information is a minor intrusion with little downside. I think that’s a mistake.

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Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal of Ruling Forcing Hospitals to Perform Gender Transition Surgery

Woman performing surgery

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear a case from a Catholic hospital challenging a ruling that forces it to sterilize patients through gender transition surgery.

Evan Minton, a patient seeking uterus removal surgery as part of the gender transition process, will be allowed to go forward with suing the Mercy San Juan Medical Center for canceling the surgery.

Minton seeks to compel the hospital to perform surgeries that directly contravene Catholic teachings, Dignity Health, which operates Mercy San Juan, told the court. The case “poses a profound threat to faith-based health care institutions’ ability to advance their healing ministries consistent with the teachings of their faith,” according to Dignity Health’s petition.

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‘They Have No Shame’: National Institutes of Health Doubles Down, Says It Didn’t Fund Gain of Function Research after Releasing Documents That Suggest Otherwise

Lawrence Tabak

The National Institutes of Health reiterated its stance Thursday that it did not fund gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China, despite having released documents on Wednesday showing that it funded the creation of a lab-made SARS coronavirus that was more deadly and pathogenetic towards mice with humanized cells.

EcoHealth Alliance informed the NIH in August that its lab-created rWIV1-SHC014 S coronavirus killed 75% of mice with humanized cells, while the natural WIV1 virus it was based on killed less than 25% of mice with the same humanized cells. The experiments were conducted with the Wuhan Institute of Virology between June 2018 and May 2019.

“These results suggest that the pathogenicity of SHC014 is higher than other tested bat SARSr-CoVs in transgenic mice that express hACE2,” EcoHealth Alliance told the NIH in its progress report.

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Preliminary Audit Results Find 800 Michigan Unreported COVID-19 Deaths

Preliminary results from Auditor Doug Ringler’s analysis  of Michigan’s long-term care facility COVID-19 death data found about 800 additional confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths than the state initially counted overall statewide between Jan. 1, 2020, and July 3, 2021. 

Ringler responded to a request from the Oversight Committee to investigate the accuracy of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ (MDHHS) COVID-19 death data in long-term care facilities. The request followed questions about the accuracy of MDHHS COVID-19 death data.

Ringler told Johnson he used death certificate information from the Electronic Death Record System and COVID-19 case and death data from the Michigan Disease Surveillance System (MDSS). The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services counts total COVID-19 deaths on their pandemic website using data from MDSS.

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Gov. Whitmer Obtains $13 Million for Michigan Rural Hospitals

Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) secured a $13 million grant from the federal government to support COVID-19 testing and mitigation in 51 small, rural hospitals.

“Our top priority is supporting the brave professionals on the frontlines of our health care industry in every corner of our state to ensure that they have what they need to protect themselves, their family, and their neighbors,” Whitmer said in a statement. “This funding will help rural hospitals continue serving their communities by expanding their COVID-19 testing capacity and mitigation efforts. I want to thank the nurses, doctors, and all medical professionals who continue to go above and beyond to keep people safe each and every day.”

Rural hospitals with fewer than 50 staff will be able to use the funds from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration for testing equipment, personnel, temporary structures, or education. Mitigation strategies must follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) community mitigation framework, including education, contact tracing, communication, and outreach. Each hospital will receive about $257,000 that must be spent within 18 months of receipt.

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Studies on COVID-19 Vaccine Effects on Fertility Are ‘in the Works,’ CDC Says

Pregnant woman's belly

Studies on how COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility are “in the works,” but some are still in the planning stages, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Anxieties over whether the COVID-19 vaccines impact fertility have discouraged some U.S. women from obtaining the vaccines, though the CDC has not found evidence that coronavirus vaccines “cause female or male fertility problems.”

After the Food and Drug Administration issued the first Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020, researchers found that the five “most queried terms” on Google were “COVID Vaccine Fertility,” ” COVID Vaccine and Infertility,” “COVID Vaccine Infertility,” “COVID Vaccine Fertility CDC,” and “COVID 19 Vaccine Infertility,” according to a June 2021 study.

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Democrats Introduce Bill Holding Tech Companies Liable for ‘Health Misinformation’

Amy Klobuchar and Ben Ray Luján

Senate Democrats introduced legislation Thursday removing liability protections from online platforms that promote content deemed health misinformation.

The bill, proposed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Ben Ray Lujan on Thursday, seeks to carve out an exception from Section 230 liability shields enjoyed by online platforms, such as Facebook or YouTube, if those platforms boost content classified as health misinformation, Vox first reported.

The legislation, known as the Health Misinformation Act, directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a definition of health misinformation, and strips liability protections from platforms “if the provider promotes that health misinformation through an algorithm used by the provider.” HHS defined health misinformation in an advisory last week as “information that is false, inaccurate, or misleading according to the best available evidence.”

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Commentary: Vegan Diets and If It Makes Kids Shorter and Weaker

Vegan dish

Diets that exclude meat and fish (vegetarian) or all animal products including dairy and eggs (vegan) are becoming increasingly popular for health, environmental and ethical reasons.

Past research in adults has linked vegetarian and vegan diets with a reduced risk of heart disease but a greater risk of fractures, caused by low calcium intakes. But the impact on children has not been evaluated, until the release of a new study this week.

The researchers found a link between shorter heights and lower bone mineral content among vegan children, compared to meat-eaters. But they didn’t show vegan diets caused the difference. Nor can they say the differences will last into adulthood.

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Commentary: Combating Global Food Insecurity 

As COVID-19, violent conflicts, and natural disasters persist around the world, an increasing number of people face an additional crisis: food insecurity.  Although food insecurity existed in many low- and middle-income countries prior to 2020, it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has escalated this global challenge.

Today, according to the United Nations World Food Program Live Hunger Map, an estimated 870 million people live on insufficient food consumption.  This figure has increased since 2019, when an estimated 821 million people did not get enough food to eat. 

Within the 79 countries in which the World Food Program operates, the number of people suffering from acute malnutrition or worse has doubled to 270 million people since 2019.

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At Least 40 Percent of NIAID and FDA Employees Have Not Been Vaccinated, According to Fauci and Marks

Doctor giving vaccination to patient

At least 40 percent of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) employees are refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine according to NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, and FDA official Dr. Peter Marks.

During a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing Tuesday on efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Richard Burr (R-Va.) asked Fauci, Marks, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky what percentage of their own employees were vaccinated.

Both Fauci and Marks estimated that a little more than half—perhaps around 60 percent of their employees—have been vaccinated. Walensky waffled, saying only that she was “encouraging employees to get vaccinated,” but couldn’t say how many have actually done so.

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U.S. Fertility Rate Declines for Sixth Straight Year

Infant feet

During 2020 the US birth rate fell 4% lower than the year before – the largest drop in nearly 50 years, according to government data released Wednesday.

The report showed the number of births fell across all ethnicities and origins.

“This is the sixth consecutive year that the number of births has declined after an increase in 2014, down an average of 2% per year, and the lowest number of births since 1979,” the National Center for Health Statistics said.

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U.S. Senate Confirms Dr. Rachel Levine as Assistant Secretary of Health

Rachel Levine

Dr. Rachel Levine became the highest-ranking transgender official to serve in federal office with her confirmation Wednesday in the U.S. Senate.

Levine joins the Department of Health and Human Services as assistant secretary of health after President Joe Biden nominated her for the post in January.

At the time, Biden described Pennsylvania’s former Secretary of Health as an “historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

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Commentary: Why Is the Gut So ‘Emotional’?

You don’t get a ‘sinking’ feeling in your feet, nor butterflies in your fingers, nor elation in your shoulders. You feel these sensations in your stomach. But why?

As RCS originally reported nine years ago, the gut is home to at least 100 million neurons, and perhaps as many as 500 million, by far the most outside of the brain. Concentrated in the lining of the gastrointestinal system, embedded in the esophagus and even the anus, these neurons constitute what scientists have dubbed the “enteric nervous system.” Through the vagus nerve, this ‘second brain’ has a direct line to the primary one in your skull, and as you’ve undoubtedly noticed, it likes to talk.

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National Mental Health Crisis Emerges Among Youth During Pandemic Lockdowns: Reports

Children and young adults are experiencing increased mental health issues, and suicide also is on the rise within the age group at least in part because of ongoing state shutdowns, according to several reports.

Within months of governors and local authorities shuttering schools, children were increasingly brought to emergency room doctors and specialists, according to a by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Michigan Health Professionals to Be Required to Undergo Implicit Bias Training

Health professionals in Michigan will soon be required to undergo implicit bias training in order to obtain a license, registration or renewal of license and registration, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Thursday.

Whitmer said the move was recommended by the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, which was created to respond to the impact COVID-19 had on communities of color.

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Whitmer Joins Coalition of 12 Governors To Ask Trump to Open Insurance Enrollment

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has joined a coalition of 12 governors to ask President Trump to allow for a special enrollment period to allow for increased access to affordable health care.

Whitmer is joining the governors from Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The letter asks for a special enrollment period of at least 30 days on the federal health care exchange.

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Michigan Has Third-Highest Rate of Infection in Country at 35.3 Percent

Michigan is keeping pace with some of the most-infected states in the country, with more than 35 percent of tests coming back with confirmed positive cases of the coronavirus, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

As of Monday evening, Michigan has 6,498 confirmed positive cases out of 18,391 total tested — an infection rate of 35.3 percent. By comparison, New Jersey has an infection rate of 39.7 percent with 16,636 confirmed cases and New York has an infection rate of 35.7 percent with 66,497 confirmed cases. New York and New Jersey are the top two most-infected states in the country, followed by Michigan. California is currently the fourth most-infected state with 6,447 confirmed cases and an infection rate of 21.5 percent.

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Michigan’s Gov. Whitmer Asks Trump for Major Disaster Declaration

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has submitted a request to President Trump to ask him for a major disaster declaration, which would allow the state to aid its residents in a variety of ways.

If granted in full, the declaration would allow the state to provide meals for families in need, rental assistance and temporary housing, as well as funding for field hospitals and mental health support.

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Delaware Says It Reports Negative Cases to CDC, Will Report to Public

The Delaware Department of Health has confirmed that it is reporting both positive and negative test results of coronavirus testing to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite not making that information available to the public.

“Yes, we are reporting both positive and negative results to the CDC,” a spokesperson said in an email to The Michigan Star on Wednesday. “We absolutely understand the interest in knowing the number of negative test results received, as well as the number of positives.”

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CVS Will Hire 50,000 Workers, Company Announces

CVS Health plans on hiring 50,000 employees to fill full-time, part-time and temporary positions as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the United States, the company announced on Monday.

Available roles include store associates, home delivery drivers, distribution center employees and customer service employees. CVS said many roles will be filled by employees from current CVS Health clients that have had to furlough workers, such as Hilton and Marriott.

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Michigan Coronavirus Cases Up to 53

Michigan currently has 53 confirmed cases of the coronavirus after 20 more cases were recently confirmed, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced on Sunday.

The virus, identified by medical professionals as COVID-19, has been confirmed in seven different counties: Washtenaw County, Oakland County, Macomb County, Kent County, Wayne County, Ottawa County and St. Clair County. It has also been confirmed in the city of Detroit.

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State Officials Activate Michigan Joint Information Center in Preparation for Coronavirus

State officials activated the Michigan Joint Information Center on Tuesday in order to assist state communications about the spread of the coronavirus disease.

There are currently no known cases of the coronavirus in Michigan.

The JIC allows responding public information officers across the state to post and access the latest verified information.

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Michigan Medicaid to Waive Copays, Cost-Sharing for Coronavirus Treatment

The Michigan Medicaid program will waive copays and cost-sharing for coronavirus testing and treatment, according to an announcement from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday.

“We must take steps to ensure every Michigander has access to the care they need to combat the spread of this disease,” Whitmer said in a statement. “That’s why the State of Michigan is stepping up by waiving fees for testing and treatment associated with coronavirus.”

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