Vaccine mandate ‘one of the greatest infringements upon individual liberty:’ Is Arizona AG right?


Fact Box

Andrew (No)

It is the government's job to ensure public safety by creating laws that regulate our behavior, keeping us from hurting ourselves and others. It would be ludicrous to say that prohibiting drunk driving or barring unlicensed individuals from carrying out certain types of work are infringements on personal liberty. In the same vein, allowing unvaccinated individuals to put others at risk of suffering and death because of their lack of vaccination is not an overreach; it's common sense. These individuals have a much greater risk of contracting and spreading COVID; their working and moving freely about and unvaccinated in society puts others at risk. We have a safe and effective tool for mitigating the spread of a disease that has killed over seven hundred thousand people in America alone; the government is right to mandate that everyone gets vaccinated.

This vaccine mandate is targeted at businesses that employ more than 100 workers, meaning that they are large enough and equipped with human resource departments capable of administering the policy. Further, the mandate will be enforced by OSHA, which already works with companies to ensure that employees are using proper PPE and other safety controls. OSHA would not allow an employee to opt-out of using required PPE; it won't allow an employee to opt-out of vaccination or testing.

COVID vaccine mandates are nothing new; we already have many mandatory vaccinations. It's very common to be required to show proof of certain vaccinations to enroll children in public schools, attend summer camps, and join the military. Though it varies from state to state, many states have legal requirements for healthcare workers, those who work in prisons, or other vulnerable groups.


Veronica (Yes)

The White House does not have the constitutional power to mandate vaccines for private businesses. Generally, the regulation of public health and safety is up to the states, which has been seen in previous court cases where the vaccine mandates of local authority was upheld. And if vaccination is so critical that the federal government has to step in, it's difficult to understand Biden's limit of 100 employees. So, presumably, an office of only 99 employees would not catch COVID? 

Biden intends to implement his mandate by using OSHA, whose power derives primarily from the commerce clause in the constitution. With Obamacare in 2012, the Supreme Court has already indicated that a federal healthcare mandate (to buy health insurance) does not fall under the federal government's commerce clause or necessary powers clause. If health insurance does not fit into the commerce clause, it is even less likely that a vaccine mandate would.  

Biden has said, 'this isn't about freedom or personal choice,' but that is exactly what this is about. The 14th amendment guarantees a right to personal liberty, including bodily integrity and the right to make your own decision about your body. This is frequently invoked by abortion activists and the motto 'my body, my choice.' The vaccine is free and available everywhere. You are free to make the personal choice to vaccinate yourself, but you do not have the right to force someone else to get vaccinated any more than you can force them not to drink or smoke. Each individual has the freedom to make that choice about their own body. As Founding Father Benjamin Franklin said, 'Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.'

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