Two Republican governors who oppose President Biden’s sweeping new COVID-19 vaccine mandate believe the requirement will only harden the resolve of those unwilling to get the jab.
”This is a very serious deadly virus, and we’re all together in trying to get an increased level of vaccination out in the population,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” “The problem is that I’m trying to overcome resistance, but the president’s actions in a mandate hardens the resistance.”
He said vaccination requirements for schools have typically come from the state level, not the federal government.
“And so this is an unprecedented assumption of federal mandate authority that really disrupts and divides the country. It divides our partnership between the federal government and the states, and it increases the division in terms of vaccination when we should all be together trying to increase the vaccination uptake,” Hutchinson said.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said the shot should be a personal choice and noted that his administration has been providing information about the vaccines and offering encouragement.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (right) has said that because President Biden has now mandated the COVID-19 vaccine, there is stronger resistance to it. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
“But it should be a personal health care choice. This is not something that the government should mandate and somebody shouldn’t have to make the choice between keeping their job and getting a jab in the arm,” Ricketts said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I mean, it’s just wrong. I’ve talked to people, a number of people who have told me, ‘If they made me take the vaccine, I’m just going to be fired. I’m not going to — I’m not going to do it.’”
Biden last Thursday announced that the Labor Department will compel businesses with 100 or more workers to require all employees to get vaccinated or be tested weekly.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts also said that while his administration is pushing for people to get the jab, he believes that it should be a personal choice. AFP via Getty Images
Businesses that don’t comply could face fines of up to $14,000.
“This is not about freedom, or personal choice,” Biden said in a speech at the White House. “It’s about protecting yourself and those around you — the people you work with, the people you care about, the people you love. … We cannot allow these actions to stand in the way of protecting the large majority of Americans who have done their part, who want to get back to life as normal.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 75.7 percent of US adults have gotten at least one vaccine shot and 64.9 percent are fully vaccinated.
According to its data, 99 percent of hospital admissions between Jan. 1 and Aug. 30 have been among the unvaccinated.
President Biden announced on September 9, 2021 that Labor Department will compel businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
In Arkansas, 49.9 percent of adults are fully vaccinated against COVID. That number is 53.4 percent in Nebraska, according to the states’ respective state health departments.
Ricketts said the Nebraska attorney general will be talking to his counterparts in other states about coordinating legal actions against the vaccine mandates.
“And as we see what these rules are, we will be able to know exactly how we will be able to challenge them in court. I’m also talking with my colleagues around the country as well, the other governors who feel the way I do, and we’ll be working on other strategies,” he said.
According to the CDC, 99% of COVID-19 hospital admissions from January 1, 2021 and August 30, 2021 have been unvaccinated people. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images
Fox News’ Chris Wallace questioned Ricketts about the polio vaccine and how it largely eradicated the virus worldwide.
”If polio vaccine is OK for parents and they have to comply with it to send their kids to school, why not for a lot of people, not just kids, the vaccine for this disease?” he asked.
Ricketts replied, “I think this is very different from polio that has very devastating effects, and certainly we know if you’re older, 65 years and older, that’s where 83 percent of our deaths in Nebraska came from, we know this is really devastating.”
“And so, it’s all about balancing off these risks. And the risk for this is just such where this is something that we shouldn’t be mandating it. Again, the whole goal for all we are doing – at least in Nebraska how we’re doing it – is around making sure we’re preserving hospital capacity and we’ve successfully done that here, even without doing statewide mask mandates and without doing vaccine passports,” he added.