Is Biden right to mandate COVID vaccinations for private businesses?


Fact Box

  • On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced a federally-imposed vaccine mandate for 80+ million private sector and federal American workers. Employers with 100+ workers must require vaccination or weekly tests. OSHA can fine private businesses $14,000 per violation (aka per worker). 
  • On December 4, 2020, Biden said, “No, I don't think it should be mandatory. I wouldn't demand it to be mandatory.' In July 27, 2021, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “Can we mandate vaccines across the country? No, that’s not a role that the federal government, I think, even has the power to make.”
  • As of September 11, 2021, there have been 41.7 million COVID cases in the US, with 31.8 million recoveries. An Israeli study found that natural immunity from COVID recoveries offer longer-lasting defense to viruses than vaccinated immunity. 
  • Over half of the US population has been fully vaccinated as of September 10, 2021, with 62.9% having at least one dose. Johns Hopkins research shows COVID spikes are rising threefold despite half the country being fully vaccinated. 
  • An August AP-NORC poll found 55% of Americans support requiring vaccination for government workers, while 21% oppose it.

Andrew (Yes)

The increased transmissibility of the Delta variant has shown that variants are a real threat to public health. With transmission rates currently nearing or surpassing those at peak pandemic, we are running a serious risk of developing a vaccine for the treatment-resistant variant unless we curb its rampant spread. Primarily because of this, the Biden Administration is right to mandate COVID vaccinations for private businesses. The FDA has fully approved the Pfizer vaccine, and President Biden is right; there really is no reason for the vast majority of people not to receive it. The Biden Administration is right to use every tool at its disposal, including vaccine mandates to avoid a potentially more lethal “Texas variant” or “Florida variant.”

Vaccine Opponents will no doubt attempt to claim this order is an example of federal government overreach. However, they will do well to consider the many restrictions our government already places on private businesses. Sanitation and cleanliness regulations, alcohol control, occupational safety standards, and disability access are just a few of the regulations which have governed private businesses for decades. COVID vaccines are just the latest regulation being put in place to keep employees and customers safe. Just as OSHA wouldn’t allow Americans to be exposed to toxic chemicals at work, the federal government is right to mandate vaccines to prevent Americans from exposure to COVID-19. 

Further, those opposing the vaccines often point to the low percentage of Americans actually killed by the coronavirus. Unfortunately, these small percentages translate to hundreds of thousands of actual people. The Biden administration is right to use mandates to take pressure off of overburdened hospital systems and keep people alive.

Stephanie (No) 

President Joe Biden discussed his recent COVID-19 vaccine mandate by essentially saying that unvaccinated people are the reason why the pandemic has continued. Condemning unvaccinated individuals is unhelpful in our already divided nation. There are a variety of reasons why someone may choose to opt out of the vaccine or why they may have waited to get it. In any case, it is a choice that, as Americans, they are entitled to make. Similarly, private businesses should be allowed to decide whether or not they will require employees to be vaccinated, routinely tested, or follow any other precautions. However, Biden apparently disagrees with this concept in saying that, “This is not about freedom or personal choice.”

Unfortunately, the mandate may affect “as many as 100 million” citizens’ ability to make decisions about their health and businesses. While some individuals may be able to seek employment at a company with less than 100 employees, others may not be in a position to do this. Businesses with more than 100 employees will now be forced to implement rules that may go against company values or risk going out of business, which is the last thing our economy needs at this time.

The mandate is also a logistical nightmare as far as how it will be realistically enforced and singles out certain professions. Federal employees serve the people yet have “no option to test out.” Healthcare workers undergo grueling education to help others, and now they will all be forced to receive a medication that they may not want. While some claim that the mandate will help the country move forward, it is absolutely un-American.

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