The country’s largest supermarket operator is handing down the ultimate punishments to employees unvaccinated against COVID-19. Beginning next year, Kroger will take away paid leave for unvaccinated employees who get COVID-19 and will require some to pay a monthly health insurance surcharge.
A company spokeswoman said the policies will be implemented in order to encourage staff to make the choice to get the vaccine. Fully vaccinated employees who get breakthrough cases, however, will still be provided paid leave.
Kroger is one of the country’s biggest employers with about 465,000 workers. The announcement was made by the supermarket giant on Tuesday when a companywide memo was sent out. The changes will take effect on January 1st. The company will continue its policy of offering a $100 incentive to all employees who become fully vaccinated.
“As we prepare to navigate the next phase of the pandemic, we are modifying policies to encourage safe behaviors including vaccination,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.
Starting next year, salaried, non-union employees who are unvaccinated and enrolled in the company’s health insurance plan must pay a monthly $50 surcharge, the company spokeswoman said.
The announcement comes as the spread of the omicron variant creates new uncertainty about how businesses should operate and when corporate employees will return to the office. New York and California have reinstated mask mandates, regardless of vaccination status. That’s led to retailers posting entrance signs reminiscent of the earlier months of the pandemic, reminding customers they must put on masks before stepping inside. Some companies, including Google, have pushed back plans to require employees to return to the office in January.
Other companies have also tightened rules around Covid vaccinations or added penalties for employees who do not get them. Starting in November, unvaccinated Delta Air Lines employees must pay a $200 monthly surcharge for health insurance.
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Prestigious Science Journals Confirm Censored Views: Masks at Best Don’t Reduce COVID Infection
Just The News reports that a prestigious science journal has confirmed what was highly censored among social media regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic: “the best-case scenario for one of the most common COVID-19 interventions may be that it has no measurable effect on infection.”
A systematic review of studies of mask mandates for children, published Saturday in the British Medical Journal‘s Archives of Disease in Childhood, found “no association” with infection or transmission in 16 of the 22 observational studies and “critical” or “serious” risk of bias in the six countervailing studies. It got the attention of Elon Musk, owner of X, formerly Twitter.
Emails turned over under public records requests show that National Institutes of Health officials were privately questioning the effectiveness of cloth masks and forthcoming vaccines just a month after then-NIH Director Francis Collins appeared to plot with colleagues to organize a “quick and devastating take down” of the anti-lockdown Great Barrington Declaration.
Self-reported SARS-CoV-2 infection was higher the more often people said they wore masks, according to a Norwegian study accepted for publication Nov. 13 in the Cambridge University Press journal Epidemiology and Infection.
An analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Nov. 20 suggests that “scientific censorship is often driven by scientists” and not just “authoritarian officials with dark motives, such as dogmatism and intolerance,” as popularly believed.
The paper, co-authored by dozens of scholars known for challenging orthodoxies in their fields, cited “self-protection, benevolence toward peer scholars, and prosocial concerns for the well-being of human social groups” as motives for censorious scientists.
Heterodox COVID scholarship may suffer hard-to-prove “camouflaged censorship” by way of “double standards” applied to such research, the paper states.
The findings cast further doubt on the practice of not only public health authorities but scientists themselves in demonizing science-based skepticism of the effectiveness of COVID interventions, particularly in relation to their potential medical, mental and social harms.
That’s now two major reviews in top journals (Cochrane and BMJ) revealing no benefit to public masking. At this point any mask mandate is essentially political, unscientific, and yes–cruel.
— Artur Adib (@r2r) December 4, 2023
“Masking recommendations appear to be entirely based on mechanistic and observational data,” they wrote, noting that a much broader systematic review of mask RCTs by the research collaborative Cochrane concluded masks make “little to no difference” against flu or COVID.
(Cochrane unilaterally reinterpreted the study to downplay its findings, over the authors’ objections, after facing media scrutiny.)
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