As portions of the world reopen, debate over vaccines have engulfed the public discourse. Situations where social distancing is next to impossible are of particular concern.
Broadway is one such battleground, since actors have to work in close proximity. This has led to some productions requiring the vaccine for actors to perform.
Laura Osnes, known for her roles in Cinderella and Bandstand, pulled out of a one performance benefit production of Crazy For You because of a requirement actors be vaccinated.
She explained her side of the story on her Instagram:
Page Six had reported Osnes was fired for refusing to vaccinate or show proof of a negative test result. Osnes claimed she was never given the option of the negative result and she voluntarily withdrew rather than provide proof of vaccination.
She also spread a common misconception about the protection HIPAA provides for medical information:
"First, it is a legal right of all Americans to have their medical privacy protected. Mine has now been broadcast with an attitude of shame and demonization."
In the United States, HIPAA protects specific kinds of healthcare information from being shared by your doctor and healthcare providers without your permission.
It does not prevent people from asking if you're vaccinated, or refusing to work with or serve you if you aren't or won't answer.
"My case is personal. I stand by the decision my husband and I, with input from our physician, have made for ourselves, our family planning, and our future."
"... Every soul is entitled to live according to their convictions and work without being publicly ostracized. My conviction does not discount my care and commitment to safety during this unprecedented time."
Despite her explanation, many online weren't convinced of her "conviction."
They pointed out her choice has a direct effect on the health and safety of those around her. And like all workplaces, her choice was compliance with workplace requirements or not working there.
The problem arises when people don't want to follow workplace rules, but still demand to work there or complain about rights they don't have. The right is to refuse medical treatment without cause, not to force your presence on others.
If there isn't a medical condition preventing you, you should get vaccinated or accept the consequences of your personal choices.
Osnes' anti-vaxx comments drew the attention of many people.
Javier Muñoz, another Broadway actor known for playing the title role in Hamilton, responded to Osnes' post.
He did it with his own Instagram post.
Muñoz explained his own journey with the pandemic, especially since he is double immunocompromised. The actor was diagnosed with HIV in 2002.
He and his roommate took all the necessary precautions and also both got vaccinated. Despite this, Muñoz's roommate had a breakthrough infection.
"...not only did I NOT test positive for [the virus] throughout that entire experience, my roommate only had symptoms for a few days and recovered quickly and fully."
"The vaccines work, Laura. They work. They save lives."
Muñoz continued, saying he is thankful for their industry mandating vaccines for cast and crew and audience.
He ended offering a more personal conversation with Osnes if she would like.
Comments online felt this was the perfect response.
A recently enacted plan to promote vaccinations in New York City called "Key to NYC" prevents many from engaging in activities without proof of vaccination. The program is not mandatory for businesses to participate, yet many are opting in to protect their customers.
If this continues, it may be Osnes will have to get vaccinated sooner rather than later or sit out Broadway until the pandemic is over.