Mandatory COVID vaccination for all Amtrak Employees

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At a minimum the medical, transportation, food & beverage, amusement, conference, and hotel industries need to be fully vaccinated IMO. It's still not perfect, and under today's laws Typhoid Mary can apparently claim a spiritual exemption from personal responsibility, but at least it's a start. ✅
 
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Trollopian

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Vaccine requirement for employees is effective November 1. (I'm not sure if that's for the first dose or both doses. Remember that peak protection is two weeks after a second jab of Pfizer or Moderna.)

People can also comply by submitting a weekly, negative COVID test. Personally I am not a fan of that backstop and certainly not weekly. Make it daily. Really. On employee's own time and dime. Vaccine mandates should be the norm, with few, very few medical exceptions, and people who are too medically fragile for vaccination probably should not be in public-facing jobs anyway.
 

PVD

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Testing, everybody, maybe twice a week, might be very useful, since even fully vaccinated appear to be able to be contagious. But testing has to be easily available, with very fast turn around to have full effect. I've pointed out before, where I go, they do a rapid and a regular at the same time, and turn the regular in 24 hours. Most places with crew bases, this is probably do able, but for some remote area station workers this might not be so easy.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Vaccine requirement for employees is effective November 1. (I'm not sure if that's for the first dose or both doses. Remember that peak protection is two weeks after a second jab of Pfizer or Moderna.)

People can also comply by submitting a weekly, negative COVID test. Personally I am not a fan of that backstop and certainly not weekly. Make it daily. Really. On employee's own time and dime. Vaccine mandates should be the norm, with few, very few medical exceptions, and people who are too medically fragile for vaccination probably should not be in public-facing jobs anyway.
I suspect it means fully vaccinated since they’re giving 2 full months to comply.
 

Triley

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I suspect it means fully vaccinated since they’re giving 2 full months to comply.
Vaccine requirement for employees is effective November 1. (I'm not sure if that's for the first dose or both doses. Remember that peak protection is two weeks after a second jab of Pfizer or Moderna.)

People can also comply by submitting a weekly, negative COVID test. Personally I am not a fan of that backstop and certainly not weekly. Make it daily. Really. On employee's own time and dime. Vaccine mandates should be the norm, with few, very few medical exceptions, and people who are too medically fragile for vaccination probably should not be in public-facing jobs anyway.
Indeed it is requiring to have full protection by November 1st, meaning you must receive your second dose 2 weeks prior to November 1st.

Testing, everybody, maybe twice a week, might be very useful, since even fully vaccinated appear to be able to be contagious. But testing has to be easily available, with very fast turn around to have full effect. I've pointed out before, where I go, they do a rapid and a regular at the same time, and turn the regular in 24 hours. Most places with crew bases, this is probably do able, but for some remote area station workers this might not be so easy.
The issue requiring daily or bi-weekly testing is that OBS crews can be out on the road for up to 6 days, and thus would not really be possible, aside from at the turnaround point. This would also be an extremely cost intensive program, processing up to 32000 Covid tests even if it's only done bi-weekly.

As far as the current plans, if you are not vaccinated, the Covid test is on your own time, and technically on your dime. However, our medical insurance currently covers Covid tests, so in the coming years all employees may end up having medical insurance costs rise, because of frequent Covid tests being covered. I'm not one to complain....I just found out about this coverage, and just filed claims to get reimbursed for the 12 Covid tests I've taken since May.
 

Bob Dylan

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Indeed it is requiring to have full protection by November 1st, meaning you must receive your second dose 2 weeks prior to November 1st.



The issue requiring daily or bi-weekly testing is that OBS crews can be out on the road for up to 6 days, and thus would not really be possible, aside from at the turnaround point. This would also be an extremely cost intensive program, processing up to 32000 Covid tests even if it's only done bi-weekly.

As far as the current plans, if you are not vaccinated, the Covid test is on your own time, and technically on your dime. However, our medical insurance currently covers Covid tests, so in the coming years all employees may end up having medical insurance costs rise, because of frequent Covid tests being covered. I'm not one to complain....I just found out about this coverage, and just filed claims to get reimbursed for the 12 Covid tests I've taken since May.
Good to know you'll be reimbursed for your tests.

It sounds like Amtrak and your Union needs to do a better job of explaining Benefits to employees.

I'm a Life Member of 2 Unions (Firefighters and CWA)and they do a great job of keeping members informed of all benefits available.
 

John Santos

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They can save a bundle on test costs if they expect most results to be negative. Pool the samples from 10-20 people (or more) and do one test on the pool. If negative, everyone is clear. If positive, then they have to retest everyone in the pool, but assuming most pools are negative, they only have to do 5-10% as many tests. (They would most likely take two samples for each person, pool one and keep the other for retesting if the pool test turns out positive.)

The cost of the test is mostly processing the samples. Gathering the samples takes a Q-tip, a baggie, a sticky label (for the patient's name or ID number) and about a minute of tester time. Processing the samples in the lab is where the big bucks go.

I understand this is the way most colleges with mass, repeated testing do it.
 

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Pooling works best in scenarios where the positivity rate is lowest, since a positive in a pool means rerunning them individually, slowing down the process and adding cost.. It is also not available in all lab settings. It has been a great help here, the purpose built PRL we built pushes huge numbers of tests daily, at a cost well below commercial averages. I believe the same group partnered with DC to build one there also.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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My employer has yet to require a vaccine. I understand why there reluctant to. I do wonder how many would fake the document, or just quit if required. It nice that Amtrak is leading the way in a public manner, but we really need the crew and passenger to be vaccinated for this nightmare to end.
 

Bob Dylan

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My employer has yet to require a vaccine. I understand why there reluctant to. I do wonder how many would fake the document, or just quit if required. It nice that Amtrak is leading the way in a public manner, but we really need the crew and passenger to be vaccinated for this nightmare to end.
Why not EVERYONE be required to be Vaccinated?( Only exceptions should be for MD Certified Medical Reasons )

Typhoid Mary's should get no Pass because of "Religious" Reasons or in the Name of Personal Freedom!
 

Josh M

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Good to know that this will be in place before my trip in mid-November. When I saw the email today, I wondered before I read it all the way if it was to announce that they were going to be requiring it for staff and passengers.
 

joelkfla

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Why not EVERYONE be required to be Vaccinated?( Only exceptions should be for MD Certified Medical Reasons )

Typhoid Mary's should get no Pass because of "Religious" Reasons or in the Name of Personal Freedom!
Because certain elected politicians insist on stoking anti-vax & anti-mask sentiment in pursuit of their own political gain over the interests of public health.
 

PVD

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Not sure Amtrak can do that, being unionized and having contracts. But I'd have no problem with it!
Where a collective bargaining agreement exists most changes in terms and conditions must be agreed upon. Major exception to that would normally be something that must be done to satisfy a legal requirement that was added or changed. It should be noted, that although Delta is predominantly non-union, their pilots and flight dispatchers are unionized.
 

peteypablo

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I think many employers should require their employees to be vaccinated and I wish everyone would get vaccinated. But I disagree with the implicit premise of this discussion; that Covid will go away if everyone gets vaccinated. Delta has changed that assumption from true to false. The virus now produces viral loads high enough to initially overwhelm the immune system of about half of those who have been vaccinated and no one has yet come up with a modification to the virus that alters this biological reality. A consensus is developing among experts that Covid will inevitably become endemic and that it is not possible to achieve herd immunity in the sense of preventing the infection from circulating. However, vaccination does provide the vast majority of us with ready reserves that can be deployed promptly to minimize the misery the virus might have brought.

The single most important thing any of us can do to protect ourselves against those who stubbornly resist vaccination is to vaccinate ourselves and then boost our antibody levels as we see fit, given our individual circumstances. We can rail about the unvaccinated all we want, but within a few months, virtually all of them are destined to be inoculated by the Delta version of the virus and their immunity will be slightly superior to that enjoyed by the vaccinated. Delta will continue to circulate, but with the symptoms of a bad cold or the flu.
 

AmtrakBlue

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I think many employers should require their employees to be vaccinated and I wish everyone would get vaccinated. But I disagree with the implicit premise of this discussion; that Covid will go away if everyone gets vaccinated. Delta has changed that assumption from true to false. The virus now produces viral loads high enough to initially overwhelm the immune system of about half of those who have been vaccinated and no one has yet come up with a modification to the virus that alters this biological reality. A consensus is developing among experts that Covid will inevitably become endemic and that it is not possible to achieve herd immunity in the sense of preventing the infection from circulating. However, vaccination does provide the vast majority of us with ready reserves that can be deployed promptly to minimize the misery the virus might have brought.

The single most important thing any of us can do to protect ourselves against those who stubbornly resist vaccination is to vaccinate ourselves and then boost our antibody levels as we see fit, given our individual circumstances. We can rail about the unvaccinated all we want, but within a few months, virtually all of them are destined to be inoculated by the Delta version of the virus and their immunity will be slightly superior to that enjoyed by the vaccinated. Delta will continue to circulate, but with the symptoms of a bad cold or the flu.
Assuming they don't die first.
 

PRR 60

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Making vaccines mandatory brings up an interesting issue: what about the 38 million Americans (over 10% of the population) who have had and survived Covid? There is now science about the effectiveness of natural immunity (obtained by surviving the infection) vs vaccine immunity. Once assumed to be inferior to vaccine-induced immunity, new studies suggest that surviving Covid imparts very strong immunity that is superior to vaccines The EU recognizes the protection provided by infection and survival by granting those individuals vaccine passports without having be administered the vaccine. The US does not. Here, an unvaccinated survivor is treated the same as any other unvaccinated person. They can be denied entrance to restaurants, access to sporting events and even employment despite science that suggests that person may be of similar or less risk to the public than a vaccinated person.

I am not anti-vax. My wife, kids and I got our doses as soon as we were permitted (second dose for me on March 1), and we will get boosters when released. But, the "vaccine or else" drive seems to be overkill that ignores that now very large group of Covid survivors that may not need it.

Science Magazine
 

AmtrakBlue

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Making vaccines mandatory brings up an interesting issue: what about the 38 million Americans (over 10% of the population) who have had and survived Covid? There is now science about the effectiveness of natural immunity (obtained by surviving the infection) vs vaccine immunity. Once assumed to be inferior to vaccine-induced immunity, new studies suggest that surviving Covid imparts very strong immunity that is superior to vaccines The EU recognizes the protection provided by infection and survival by granting those individuals vaccine passports without having be administered the vaccine. The US does not. Here, an unvaccinated survivor is treated the same as any other unvaccinated person. They can be denied entrance to restaurants, access to sporting events and even employment despite science that suggests that person may be of similar or less risk to the public than a vaccinated person.

I am not anti-vax. My wife, kids and I got our doses as soon as we were permitted (second dose for me on March 1), and we will get boosters when released. But, the "vaccine or else" drive seems to be overkill that ignores that now very large group of Covid survivors that may not need it.

Science Magazine
I would guess part of the problem is, do those who have had the infection have documentation of it? Is there a database that keeps track of covid infections (names, etc)? At least with the vaccine we have our vaccine cards and they're recorded somewhere. I know the cards can be forged, but it would be easy for people to say 'hey, I've had the infection' even if they have not.
 
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