President Joe Biden announced sweeping vaccine mandates at the end of last week that will impact up to 100 million Americans. Biden said that private companies with 100 or more employees must vaccinate all workers against COVID-19 or test them for COVID-19 each week; he's also requiring all federal employees to get the shot with no alternative option for weekly testing. Roughly 55% of Americans are fully vaccinated.
Views on the mandates have often been divided across the spectrum, especially when it comes to mandates for private companies. Many left-rated voices described the mandates as a necessary rebuke of unvaccinated people, and argued that they would help stop the COVID-19 pandemic in spite of potential legal challenges. Many right-rated voices expressed support for the vaccine itself but not for the mandates, and accused Biden of unconstitutional infringement on personal freedoms. Some voices in the center highlighted past examples of clashes over vaccine mandates between the U.S. public and government.
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Snippets from the Right
"The White House is relying on the regulatory authority of the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency dating back to 1971, and in particular its seldom-used emergency powers. Some backers of Biden's action seem to think waving in OSHA's general direction, together with citing COVID-19's high death toll, is all the answer needed to questions about legality."
"Biden stopped short of mandating the vaccine for illegal immigrants attempting to cross America's border, even though about 30% of immigrants held at federal detention facilities are refusing to be vaccinated — and they have the option to refuse. Meanwhile, more than 18% of migrant families who recently crossed the border tested positive for COVID before being released by Border Patrol. Another 20% of unaccompanied minors tested positive for the virus."
Snippets from the Left
The Guardian (analysis)
"Three Republican governors tipped as presidential candidates in 2024 took their cue. Kristi Noem of South Dakota said she was preparing to go to court. Greg Abbott of Texas called it an 'assault on private businesses'. Ron DeSantis of Florida said: 'I do not believe that people should lose their jobs over this issue, and we will fight that.'"
"By requiring that companies maintain safe workplaces through vaccination, legal experts said Friday that the president was relying on the federal government’s well-established constitutional power to regulate commerce and the 51-year-old law establishing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration."
Snippets from the Center
"The percentages of Americans in favor of vaccination requirements range from 53% to 61% across the five situations tested, leaving a nontrivial 39% to 47% who are opposed. In short, if it came to a national referendum, these vaccination proof requirements would win -- but with significant opposition."
"As vaccination drives roll out to the remaining sections of society that are not yet immunized — mainly adolescents — those adults that remain unvaccinated could find it increasingly difficult to return to work, or find employment in some sectors and companies."