Republican Governors Take Aim at Mandatory Vaccines
There's no doubt about it; every aspect of the vaccine rollout has run into some type of controversy. Everything from the non-FDA approval of the new vaccines to the door-to-door teams that President Biden commented during a news conference has taken some type of heat. The newest controversy includes certain states and private companies making the vaccine mandatory for their employees. For example, Houston Methodist was amongst the first organizations/companies to make vaccines mandatory for their staff. Although Houston Methodist won their court case, they did end up losing over 153 workers during the process. This type of ruling has caused a few governors ( Mainly Republicans) to worry about their own legal standing against such an issue. One governor, however, is attempting to make the practice illegal before it is ever challenged within their state.
States Aim for Mandatory Vaccination
As stated above, much of the legal moves being seen by Republicans across the nation are due to certain states making mandatory vaccination for those who work for the state government. One of the strictest states in terms of mandatory vaccination includes California. Gov. Gavin Newsom stated the action taken to make vaccinations mandatory amongst state employees is a must if people wish to lower covid numbers and stop the Delta variant from spreading any further. In New York state, many venues across the state are asking people to demonstrate proof of full vaccination before being accepted into the venue.
Gov. Chris Sununu Takes Aim at Mandatory Vaccines
On January 28th, 2021, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed a law stating that residents of the state will not legally be forced to receive the vaccine. In his speech regarding the new law, Gov. Sununu said that everyone has the right to bodily integrity, and nobody should be able to threaten or intimidate them into vaccination. The "Medical Freedom" law was a clear reaction to the various surrounding states and companies (such as the NFL) who are instilling mandatory vaccinations on their employees. However, it must be noted that the state of New Hampshire is still very much promoting the vaccines amongst its residents. Sununu's deputy communications director, Brandon Pratt, commented that the government of New Hampshire strongly recommends that people receive their vaccines but does understand that people should have the freedom to choose whether or not they want to go along with the process.
Although the bill looks great on paper and may even land a few political points towards Gov. Chris Sununu, the fact is that the new bill does not override many of the vaccine laws that are already in place. For example, according to go the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, children going into any school within the state are still required to receive certain vaccines before being allowed to be around other children. Other areas that have been left untouched include state-run correctional facilities where mandatory vaccines are still very much legal but only allowed when a serious threat has been discovered. However, even with all these new inclusions to New Hampshire law, the fact is that the true strength of it is not going to be made known until it is challenged in a court of law.
President Biden Eyes Federal Mandate
Although the president has stayed far away from making the vaccine mandatory, the new delta variant has changed how he looks at the issue. Although not legally allowed to make the vaccine mandatory throughout the nation, the President has introduced plans to make the vaccine a requirement for those who work for the federal government. In a statement to the press, President Biden said that this is not a blue or red state issue but a life or death issue. He added that although everyone wants freedom, that freedom also comes with certain responsibilities. The federal vaccination mandatory will set to affect over 4 million people who work for the federal government. After the announcement, the President asked that the private sector take similar steps to combat the new delta variant from spreading across the nation and potentially causing another lockdown. To promote this, the Biden Administration has stated that they will be providing reimbursements for companies that allow their employees to take time off to receive their vaccine shots and recover from the side effects that come days after the second dose.