Vaccine Mandate is a Battle Worth Fighting for All of Us

We have finally reached the point in the battle with COVID-19 in which reality takes precedence over politics. As The Associated Press reports:

President Joe Biden on Thursday is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant that is killing thousands each week and jeopardizing the nation’s economic recovery.

The expansive rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.

Biden is also signing an executive order to require vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government — with no option to test out. That covers several million more workers.

Biden was to announce the new requirements in a Thursday afternoon address from the White House as part of a new “action plan” to address the latest rise in coronavirus cases and the stagnating pace of COVID-19 shots that has raised doubts among the public over his handling of the pandemic.

People may still try to oppose the COVID-19 vaccine on the grounds of religious exemption, but as CNN notes:

No major denomination opposes vaccination. [Pols emphasis] Even the Christian Science Church, whose adherents rely largely on prayer rather than medicine, does not impose an official policy. It counsels “respect for public health authorities and conscientious obedience to the laws of the land, including those requiring vaccination.”

And if a person claims their privately held religious beliefs forbid vaccination, that defense is unlikely to hold up in court if challenged, legal experts say. [Pols emphasis]

President Biden

The response from right-wing Republicans to news about vaccine requirements was as predictable as it is dangerous. Vaccine mandates from the federal government come at a time when Republican leaders across the country are spending more time and energy fighting people who are trying to stop COVID-19 than working to stop the spread of the virus. Anti-vax radio hosts are literally dying of COVID-19 on a regular basis.

Not all Republicans are opposing vaccines and mask mandates, however. West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice has been apoplectic about people refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Indeed, Republicans used to be more intellectually honest about the need for vaccinations, as this 9News story about a measles outbreak from 2015 notes:

Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Mike Coffman both told 9NEWS that ideally there should be a legal requirement for parents to have their children vaccinated against disease. [Pols emphasis]

The argument that receiving a vaccine should be a “personal choice” ignores the reality of our current situation: Unvaccinated Americans are allowing COVID-19 to mutate and spread at alarming rates. We’re seeing more than 160,000 new COVID-19 cases EVERY DAY in this country. Hospitals across the country are rationing care as emergency rooms are overwhelmed with infected patients. The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned today that COVID-19 cases in the United States are ten times more prevalent than they should be at this point in a pandemic response.

Here in Colorado, COVID-19 hospitalizations are poised to surpass their highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic. We know that unvaccinated people are exponentially more likely to be hospitalized over a COVID-19 infection. we know that COVID-19 outbreaks in Colorado schools are also approaching record levels.

Health officials and (many) politicians have spent the last 18 months politely trying to convince people to take appropriate caution to stop the spread of COVID-19. We have access to vaccines that we know are working, but information campaigns haven’t been enough to move the sizable percentage of Americans who flat-out refuse to get vaccinated even if it’s just out of spite and a stubborn refusal to take advice from others. At the same time, polling data indicates that vaccine mandates are actually less divisive than you might think.

We tried to be nice about encouraging vaccinations, but the Delta variant changed the equation. The longer people wait to get vaccinated, the longer the entire country (indeed, the world) will continue to suffer the consequences.

In mandating vaccines, President Biden is taking the inevitable step that responsible leadership requires. The COVID-19 virus doesn’t care about your politics; it’s time to start fighting back without one hand tied behind our backs.

32 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MattC says:

    wow. 
    Science based executive action. I know it has happened before, but still.

    Be sure to bring your voter registration proof when you go to get vaccinated so you get the right one. 

  2. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Just get the damn shot(s). End of discussion.

  3. gertie97 says:

    He missed conditioning travel on vaccines. I hope it's the next policy down the pike.

    When our ignorant-and-proud-of-it GOP friends on the Western Slope can't get on an airplane without getting vaccinated, we'll see a stampede to get the shots.

     

  4. JohnInDenver says:

    The list of items reeled off by Biden and his Administration approach a "whole of government" approach that has been missing.

    It has been an effort to be "respectful," and as Polis has done, encouraging without mandating, incentivizing without penalizing, and allowing a great deal of space for state, local and private action.  I sorta wish he'd have had a line-up of the Surgeon General, CDC and its subdivisions, NIH, and state public health officers who wanted to help.  Then, he could have gone down the list and asked "what do you want to do?", hear the proposal, and say "yes,"  "You get a policy, and You get a policy, and You get YOUR policy…" 

    Personally, I'd also think he ought to take money away from states that try to fight the efforts to control COVID …. taking away from state programs under state control and diverting it to state entities NOT under the control of the Governor… but that's just my petty policy thinking, and probably there are good reasons to not do that.

  5. davebarnes says:

    I just want every unvaccinated adult in the USA to die a painful death from Covid.

    Is that too much to ask?

    • My son was injured during a round of vaccines. The day after his vaccine-round, he lost 90% of his vocabulary and all command on sentence structure was gone. 

      At random times during the day, he would start to cry, and then throw himself to the floor and violently bang his head against the ground. 

      My wife and I took turns, constantly monitoring – readied to dive to the ground to shield his head when it happened. 

      I’m lucky that I was able to get him therapy. He has worked his way back up to his peers. My son is so damn tough and resilient. He’s my hero.

      I will never allow another vaccine to go into my son’s body. I understand that my son hasn’t died of Covid, but I hope his suffering from the vaccine injury quenches some of your blood-lust. Hope you’re well. 

      • Sunmusing says:

        sorry about your son…I am thankful he is still alive…Yet, this doesn't mean that because of your bad luck, that my grandson, or my wife, or myself should be subjected to dying of the covid because you are now an avowed Typhoid Mary…this is no longer "personal"…this effects everyone…even those who still think it is a hoax…I am thankful to all those scientific folks who developed the vaccine…Without it, we as a nation, would be far worse than we are now…

      • gertie97 says:

        I'm glad your son is okay and I hope he can stay that way given his father's loony attitude about vaccines. Plus, I remain skeptical of your entire account due to some of your previous flights of fancy on this blog.

         

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        Growing up as a kid, I often was embarrassed or ashamed by my parents’ lack of a formal higher education.

        I will never allow another vaccine to go into my son’s body.

        Today, having read this, I’m honestly quite thankful for my parents who may have been less well-educated, but at the same time were much smarter about listening to our family’s doctors:

        Hepatitis B
        Diphtheria
        Tetanus
        Acellular Pertussis
        Polio
        Pneumococcal Pneumonia
        Haemophilus influenza Type B
        Influenza
        Rotavirus
        Measles
        Mumps
        Rubella
        Hepatitis A
        Varicella
        Tdap
        Meningococcal vaccine
        HPV (human papilloma vaccine)
        etc., etc.,

        . . . a life (likely foreshortened and disease-ridden) as a bubble-boy probably woulda’ sucked muddy rocks?

        “”Bloodlust”?? Backatcha’. Seriously. I’m more than beyond tired of all the unnecessary and preventable illness, death, and disease — and, I wish everyone else was, too.

  6. itlduso says:

    I have had numerous PCR tests.  One time the “doctor” stuck the swab up my nose seemingly to my brain.  Very painful.  

    People can choose to be unvaccinated, but must be tested twice a week by this “doctor”.  See how long they stay unvaccinated.
     

     

  7. Sparky says:

    Republicans are explicitly siding with the virus because they like mass death and want more of it. It really is as simple as that.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Hey Sparkplug: I'm a Republican and I'll repeat my comment, which is the second one on this thread, just for you…….

      "Just get the damn shot(s). End of discussion."

  8. "We tried to be nice about encouraging vaccinations, but the Delta variant changed the equation. The longer people wait to get vaccinated, the longer the entire country (indeed, the world) will continue to suffer the consequences."

    Yes – Israel is proof that vaccinations work, especially against Delta. 

    Oh wait. 

      • DawnPatrol says:

        Game, set, match: MichaelBowman

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        One in 5,000

        The estimates here are based on statistics from three places that have reported detailed data on Covid infections by vaccination status: Utah; Virginia; and King County, which includes Seattle, in Washington state. All three are consistent with the idea that about one in 5,000 vaccinated Americans have tested positive for Covid each day in recent weeks.

        The chances are surely higher in the places with the worst Covid outbreaks, like the Southeast. And in places with many fewer cases — like the Northeast, as well as the Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco areas — the chances are lower, probably less than 1 in 10,000. That’s what the Seattle data shows, for example. (These numbers don’t include undiagnosed cases, which are often so mild that people do not notice them and do not pass the virus to anyone else.)

        Here’s one way to think about a one-in-10,000 daily chance: It would take more than three months for the combined risk to reach just 1 percent.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/07/briefing/risk-breakthrough-infections-delta.html

        At this point, however, I’m convinced that no amount of facts, logic, or data is going to convince the stubborn and willfully ignorant — so, bring on the mandates!

    • spaceman2021 says:

      I understand your personal aversion to vaccines given your son's experience.  But the fact, scientific fact, is that the vaccines reduce the risk of transmission, the risk of severe disease, and the risk of death from COVID.  The rise of the delta variant is the result of lack of adequate vaccination in the U.S.  Smallpox used to kill.  Polio used to kill.  Measles used to kill.  Vaccines are how humans got the advantage over those diseases.  Period.  

  9. Meiner49er says:

    It turns out that one of the advantages of having a fairly elderly POTUS is that he can push a harder line knowing he doesn't need to worry about his political future. I wish he'd push harder on the vaccine mandate, but grateful for this step, and the Afghan withdrawal.

  10. Genghis says:

    Good start. It's long past time to stop coddling the sociopathic trash. For the intractably incalcitrant, we should also take away all the free shit. That includes without limitation taxpayer-funded education for their snot miners. They made 'em, they can educate 'em, like the mighty Galtian freedom-loving ubermenchen they are.

    And let's bring back separate but equal, this time for COVIDiots. They can stay in their naturopathic freedom-lover enclaves eating horse paste and slapping one another on the back over their most excellent ownership of the libs.

  11. CDW says:

    Wanna take bets on how soon scotus takes a case from someone refusing to get vaccinated because of religious belief?  

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