Sound policy or overreach? Readers weigh in after county prosecutor mandates vaccines

Earlier this month, Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. in an email told his staff that he was mandating vaccines among prosecutor’s office employees.

In the email, Heck said that the policy was intended to create a safe working environment, citing ongoing concerns from employees about being exposed to other unvaccinated employees, as well as staff interactions with the public.

“This virus is serious and has not gone away. Steps must be taken to protect those we work with on a daily basis,” he wrote.

Many Dayton Daily News readers chimed in on the decision on Facebook, with the story receiving over 700 comments.

Comments ranged from strong approval to strong condemnation. These are a sampling of comments of both sides of the debate, some of which have been edited for length or clarity.

Comments supporting the policy:

Donald Nguyen: “Very smart and sensible. The new variant is roaring around the world and now hitting the US. The numbers of infections, hospital admissions and deaths are rising, exactly like April/May/June of last year in Ohio but with a major difference, the virus is killing young and healthy patients, not just the elderly and vulnerable. The vaccine is protecting against the wild type and the new variants as well. As of now, Ohio is averaging 2,000 new infections per day and it looks like very few of these people have been vaccinated so the majority of the spreading is due to folks not being vaccinated and gathering in hot spots.”

John Ise: “Fully support. The unvaccinated put everyone else at risk.”

Judy Easter: “When employees come in contact with so many people each day, Mr Heck only wants them protected as they protect others. Common sense, I think. The shot doesn’t hurt, it helps!”

Jill Resides: “I think he should require employees in his office to be vaccinated. When I was in the Air Force we had to get vaccinations and that wasn’t unreasonable”

Victoria Korosei: “Sounds like he wants to make sure employees don’t catch or spread Covid. Not exactly a big ask.”

Donna Clark-Cetek: “Good. It should never be a ‘right’ to spread a potentially deadly disease through carelessness or stubbornness.”

Theresa Cooper: “I would think the employees would want it too! They work with the public! Who wants to take it home to their families, or have it without symptoms, then infect other people they come in contact with, whether at work, or out in public! I think he’s smart for doing that!”

Doris Rotterman: “When I worked with public people we had to get flu shots and none of us complained as we thought it would help us to stay heathy and on the job. Get with it younger generation and stop complaining and get the shots. Even if you are heathy you can get it and die. Many have.”

Craig Horn: “Hospitals and staff have done it for years re: flu and whooping cough [vaccines]. It’s called public responsibility. No one should get sick from going into a doctor’s (or a prosecutor’s office). Choices are fine. You may well choose to not [vaccinate]. But choices also have consequences and people have to be able to live with them. What a non-[vaccine] person does not have the right to do is to put others at risk as a consequence of their choice.

Comments against the policy:

Crystal Bohse: “While I’m for vaccine, I don’t think anyone should be mandated to take any vaccines, flu included (although I’m mandated to get mine yearly as a healthcare provider).”

Tammy Fetters: “Its wrong to force people to take it to keep their job!”

Vicki Creech: “He’s wrong! It should be a personal choice. Period! With the survival rate at 99.4 percent, there is no need to mandate the vaccines!”

Vickie Kelly Cyrus: “Unconstitutional! Can’t force experimental vaccine... Emergency Use!”

Jim Scott: “I don’t see how he can “mandate” anything that affects a person like this. Someone needs to sue him and the county to put order back in everyone’s life.”

Thomas Lord French: “The vaccine doesn’t even guarantee that you won’t get it or that you can pass it to someone else, I could understand if it was a sure thing but you’re firing people because they’re not following your regime.”

Rachel Ann: “Maybe he should be the one to find a new job!”

Bonnie Huber: “I would quit. Women say they have the right what to do with their bodies on aborting a baby. Why should we be forced to put something in our bodies?”

Wendy Chapman: “Government/politics/employers need to back off of the public and mind their own business and worry about things that don’t involve controlling EVERY ASPECT OF EVERYONE’S LIVES!!!”

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