The Unvaccinated Are Losing Jobs and Friends

As governments throughout the world push to get their populations vaccinated against COVID and fully reopen their economies, those who refuse the vaccine could see their relationships and job opportunities affected.

Concerns about the safety of the vaccines have been exacerbated by the spread of disinformation, while some see the matter of vaccine refusal as a key issue of personal choice.

Whatever their reasons for refusing the shot, those who remain unvaccinated could suffer consequences other than the risk of COVID itself. In the U.S., jobs may be at risk if employees aren't vaccinated, while their social and family lives could also be adversely affected.

Some major companies, including Facebook and Google, have already said they will require employees to have the jabs, while CNN fired three employees this week for entering its office without being vaccinated.

Some of the nation's best known firms are imposing vaccine requirements or seeking information on vaccine status.

The emerging vaccine requirements and recent firings at CNN may be a foretaste of a potential crackdown on unvaccinated employees as many workplaces try to return to normal.

Though some questions remain about the legality of firing employees over their vaccination status, most legal experts argue that it is permissible.

New York-based residential real estate company the Durst Organization has said it will fire employees who don't get vaccinated by September 6, though this will only apply to non-union workers.

The issue of vaccination and employment has been particularly acute in hospitals, with six unvaccinated employees being fired in New Jersey and 150 unvaccinated staff members in Houston, Texas, either resigning or being fired.

Delta Airlines and United Airlines now require new employees to provide proof of vaccination.

Goldman Sachs will require employees to reveal their vaccination status, but the investment bank has stopped short of requiring proof, while JP Morgan Chase has asked employees to provide their vaccine records through an internal portal.

Morgan Stanley has barred unvaccinated staff and visitors from its offices in New York and Walmart will require all employees at its headquarters to be vaccinated by October 4.

Morgan Stanley will allow the unvaccinated to continue working from home, but it remains to be seen how long companies will allow unvaccinated people to work remotely, while that option is not available to all categories of workers.

Beyond the workplace, there are indications that a person's vaccination status could also affect their social relationships, with a large percentage of Americans saying they will avoid unvaccinated people.

A May survey from MyBioSource.com, a biotechnical products distribution company, found that an average of 48 percent of people would avoid the unvaccinated, though the figure varied considerably from state to state, rising as high as 65 percent in Maryland but it was just 11 percent in Idaho.

Risk of Losing Friends

Friends star Jennifer Aniston recently made headlines for saying she had lost friends because they wouldn't get vaccinated or wouldn't reveal their status, but evidence suggests this phenomenon isn't just something experienced by Hollywood stars.

One recent example is Sebastian Shemirani, the son of a British woman who has prominently spread COVID conspiracy theories. He spoke out against her and called for her to be arrested. His mother, former nurse Kate Shemirani, compared medical staff giving COVID vaccines to Nazi war criminals.

Less dramatically, unvaccinated people could see themselves disinvited to events like dinner parties or family functions. CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King said last month that she wouldn't allow unvaccinated family members to come to Thanksgiving.

In June, Canada's Globe and Mail reported on tensions within families over questions like unvaccinated relatives holding newborn babies or partially vaccinated friends going on trips with those who are still not vaccinated.

Some couples have required COVID testing or vaccination for guests attending weddings, while advice on how to deal with potentially unvaccinated guests has proliferated online.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 70.4 percent of people in the U.S. over the age of 18 have had at least one dose of vaccine, while 60.8 percent are fully vaccinated.

As those numbers continue to increase and people try to return to pre-pandemic life, unvaccinated people could potentially find their social and working lives curtailed.

Man Along on Swing at Sunset
File photo: A man sits alone on a swing. Those who refuse the COVID vaccine could see their relationships and job opportunities affected. Getty Images