President Joe Biden's vaccine and testing mandate is facing some pushback.
The mandate, announced last week, requires all companies with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and for workers who aren't vaccinated, to comply with weekly coronavirus testing. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will issue an emergency temporary standard to implement this requirement.
The mandate is intended to push about two-thirds of American workers to get vaccinated, but some are claiming it's government overreach.
S.T. Karnick, senior fellow and director of publications at the Heartland Institute, claims this new mandate is unconstitutional and in violation of the tenth amendment.
“You can have a lot of problems that you’d like to solve and have the government do it, but this is not one of them,” Karnick said. “This is something under what’s called the police powers, and the police powers are reserved to the states.”
On the contrary, Dr. Rachel Rubin, senior public health medical officer and co-lead at the Cook County Department of Public Health, believes this mandate is necessary.
“We need to have as many people vaccinated as possible in order to get out of this pandemic,” Rubin said. “Throughout the United States, especially our essential workers, are quite vulnerable to getting exposed to COVID. … We still are nowhere near the threshold we need to keep everybody safe.”
The Cook County Department of Public Health reports there is currently a high community transmission level, with a seven-day rolling average of 408 new cases as of Saturday in suburban Cook County.
“The mandate now gives employers the right to say to their workers, ‘You need to be vaccinated or you don’t work here. We’re going to make the vaccine available to you, we want to keep you and our customers safe,’” Rubin said.
But Karnick says this is an infringement on individual rights and should be up to individual states to decide.
“We can’t have this kind of interference in such intimate, individual choices from the federal government,” Karnick said. “If the states want to do it, they have the authority to do it. I’m not sure if it’s even right on the state level.”
Rubin views it is a public health responsibility to put in mandates like these “when people are not abiding by the guidance that is put in place.”
“It’s also the obligation of our government to keep us safe and healthy,” she said “Without these mandates, whether it’s on a federal level or a local level, people are going to die.”
Contact Acacia Hernandez: (773) 509-5518 | [email protected]