Vaccine Mandates: Change of Heart

Avatar The Flag Staff Contributor
Vaccine Mandates: Change of Heart
Read Time: approx. 4:20

Vaccine Mandates: As a presidential candidate, Biden said he wouldn’t mandate vaccines, but his recent actions as president show a clear change of heart. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

Top Story: Vaccine Mandates

While speaking in Wilmington, Del., on Dec. 4, 2020, Joe Biden was asked whether COVID vaccinations should be mandatory. The president-elect said, “No, I don’t think it should be mandatory. I wouldn’t demand it to be mandatory.” A little more than eight months later, the president had a change of heart, laying out his most forceful pandemic actions and words yet in a speech last week. On Thursday, Biden ordered sweeping new federal vaccine requirements for as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to curb the surging COVID-19 delta variant, Zeke Miller reports for the Associated Press. The expansive rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing, with a requirement carrying penalties of $14,000 per violation. The employers will also have to give workers paid time off to get vaccinated and/or recover from any associated side effects, Stephanie Armour and Sabrina Siddiqui report for the Wall Street Journal. Here’s what both sides are saying:

On The Left

Left-leaning commentators and outlets support Biden’s order, and some think his six-step plan doesn’t go far enough. Another notes how vaccine mandates have been part of America’s history since before it was even a country.

“Biden’s six-step COVID strategy does not go far enough to compel vaccinations” Leana S. Wen, Washington Post: “President Biden’s much-hyped new strategy for fighting COVID-19 is a tepid half-measure that falls short of the dramatic reset the country needs. The six-pronged strategy announced on Thursday can be summarized as ‘more of the same’ — these are good steps in the right direction, but they’re not enough to get the job done. … Biden needs to acknowledge that we have reached the end of the line when it comes to asking individuals to get vaccinated. We’ve tried education, incentives, and appealing to people’s patriotic duty. It’s not working. Now is the time for mandates, with the federal government using the full extent of its authority. … For starters, why didn’t Biden announce that he will mandate vaccinations for plane and train travel? … Similarly, the White House should urge businesses to implement ‘no vaccine, no service’ rules. … In addition … I wish that all children 12 and older would be required, as well. There are mandates for childhood immunizations in every state. The coronavirus vaccine should be no different. … The time for cajoling is over, and it’s up to Biden to set the tone — and make it as difficult as his authority permits for Americans to remain unvaccinated.”

“Vaccination Mandates Are an American Tradition. So Is the Backlash.” Maggie Astor, New York Times: “The roots of US vaccine mandates predate both the US and vaccines. The colonies sought to prevent disease outbreaks by quarantining ships from Europe and sometimes, in the case of smallpox, requiring inoculations: a crude and much riskier predecessor to vaccinations in which doctors rubbed live smallpox virus into broken skin to induce a relatively mild infection that would guard against severe infection later. … In January 1777, George Washington mandated inoculations for the soldiers under his command in the Continental Army … Legally speaking, the Supreme Court resolved the issue of mandatory vaccinations in 1905, ruling 7-2 in Jacobson v. Massachusetts that they were constitutional. … None of it is new, but one thing distinguishes today’s anti-vaccination protesters from those of the past. The opposition was always political. It wasn’t always partisan.”

“Fox News and right-wing media frame Biden as evil ‘tyrant’ after vaccination speech” Oliver Darcy, CNN Business: “It is difficult to overstate the degree to which right-wing commentators are slinging venom at Biden, the White House, and public health officials following the speech. … ‘An Authoritarian.’ … ‘Rotting bag of oatmeal … tyrant.’ … Those are only a handful of the vile attacks directed at President Biden on Fox News Thursday night following his address to the nation announcing sweeping new vaccine mandates. … I know there is a temptation to just ignore these talkers. … But their language — which essentially characterizes Biden and public health officials as evil tyrants — is key to understanding why so many Americans are not protecting themselves with a vaccine. … Huge communities of Americans are being lied to and misinformed by bad-faith media personalities and politicians who seek profit and power. … Bad faith nonsense has saturated right-wing media and the GOP.”

On The Right

Right-leaning commentators seem to overwhelmingly support vaccines. However, they do not support Biden’s order because they think it is a federal power grab that is unconstitutional. They believe it sets a dangerous precedent and is just a calculated way to shift attention away from the president’s failures in Afghanistan.

“Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Is a Big Mistake” Robby Soave, New York Times Opinion: On July 23, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said, “That’s not the role of the federal government.” … “Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the same thing a week later: ‘There will be no nationwide mandate.’ So much for that. … The president’s plan is certainly well-intentioned. The vaccines are the only tried and true strategy for defeating COVID … But forcing vaccines on a minority contingent of unwilling people is a massive error that risks shredding the social fabric of a country already being pulled apart by political tribalism. The president should not — and likely does not — have the power to unilaterally compel millions of private-sector workers to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs: Mr. Biden is presiding over a vast expansion of federal authority, one that Democrats will certainly come to regret the next time a Republican takes power. … The federal vaccine mandate represents a broad expansion of the executive branch’s power. And Mr. Biden will not be the chief executive forever.”

“Joe Biden’s incoherent, fear-mongering COVID vaccine speech” By John Podhoretz, New York Post: ‘What’s happening with the Delta variant is terrible, and Biden spent a lot of the speech importuning the unvaccinated to get the shot. They should. If they don’t, they’re incredibly stupid, and yes, this means you. … But it’s not a crime to be stupid, or to be a foolish parent. People do self-destructive things all the time. … The talk was aimed at a very specific population, and it wasn’t the unvaccinated, toward whom he showed very little save contempt. … He’s going to take actions that are likely unconstitutional — using powers the courts have repeatedly said were beyond the scope of presidential authority to compel private businesses to act as he wishes them to act. And why? Well, to ease the very worries he had just tried to convince all of us are actually unnecessary. Well, it’s one way to try to change the subject from Afghanistan.”

“Biden’s Desperate COVID Overreach” Editorial Board, National Review: “We obviously do not dispute the idea that it would be a good thing if more people were vaccinated, as the shots have proven to be safe and highly effective at nearly eliminating the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. But the issue here is not what outcomes we may prefer, but what authority Biden has as president. … As chief executive, it is one thing for Biden to require vaccination for federal workers, or even for private companies that are hired as federal contractors. But Biden’s proposal goes way beyond that … This rule imposes a significant compliance burden on employers to not only police who is vaccinated, but also to facilitate weekly testing of workers. … After his actions today, we can’t help but be reminded of the CDC’s eviction moratorium, which he extended even after declaring that doing so would be illegal. Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court blocked that action, declaring that it ‘strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts.’ We hope that the Supreme Court will be just as incredulous when it comes to Biden’s latest overreach.”

Flag This: Vaccine Mandates

Gallup surveyed more than 3,500 random adults between August 16-22 on a variety of vaccine mandates. Results show that 61% of Americans favor vaccination requirements for air travel, 53% of respondents support vaccine proof for dining out, and 56% of those polled support mandates for their office or work settings. “Americans’ political identity is strongly related to their opinions about vaccine requirements,” Frank Newport writes. 92% of Democrats polled by Gallup support vaccination mandates to board an airplane, in contrast to just 29% of Republicans. Independents were evenly split, with 50% supporting and 50% opposing.

Flag Poll: Vaccine Mandates

Do you support President Biden’s order to mandate vaccines for most US workers? Comment below to share your thoughts.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Randy Fondren
4 days ago

It is time to increase the burden on those who resist the vaccines. This resistance prevents a return to something like normalcy. It harms others. Choices are available.

Reply to  Randy Fondren
4 days ago

Should that include everyone, judicial branch, legislative branch, postal workers, refugees and others who come into our country without a legal visa? If so, that hasn’t been addressed.

4 days ago

Vaccine mandates for the a certain population are wrong on many levels. The first objection is that the administration is ignoring those who are already immune from natural infection. I can’t take our public health officials seriously until this issue is addressed properly. They completely ignore the fact that natural immunity protects unvaccinated people who already acquired the desired protection. While Washington is frequently written about how he forced vaccines on his soldiers, it is conveniently ignored that he only forced vaccines on those who did not already have small pox. Anyone who recovered from small pox did not have to be reinfected. We knew back in the 18th century that someone is protected if they have already been infected. A study from Israel proved that natural immunity is more robust than the vaccine.
Second, if President Biden is so concerned about COVID, why aren’t they supplying our boarder patrol agents with vaccines at the holding facilities? We could administer the vaccines to every American yet still not get to 100 percent if we have people entering the country without getting vaccinated.
Third, when asked Psaski said Afghan refugees will be given the option to be vaccinated implying that they can refuse it if they’d like. Why do they have a choice when 100 million American citizens are not given the same consideration?
Fourth, why are members of Congress, the legislative branch and postal worker exempt? Again, the administration is forcing vaccines on some Americans, but not all Americans. How does this approach reach their vaccination goals.
Finally, nobody, not even the pharmaceutical companies who developed the vaccines, know what the long term side affects are of mRNA technology. This is a leap of faith for some and that should be respected. Everyone’s body is different and it’s wrong to assume that a medicine is good for everyone. People should have autonomy over their own body and decide, with their doctor, whether a particular medicine is right for them.
NO, COVID vaccines should not be mandated to the Americans that Biden chooses to dictate to while excepting others.

Reply to  Dinad23
4 days ago

You have some really good points. Discrimination in applying this seems to not mesh with the fact that it’s “needed” due to a crisis.

Gary Roe
4 days ago

I don’t believe it should be mandatory. We have choices on getting flu shots, as well as other shots. This is a personal choice that’s something that should be mandated. The Biden ministration has yet to explain why there a change of heart. Originally both Biden and Harris claim that they would never get the shot, why did that change. Why aren’t those coming in from Afghanistan as well as crossing our borders I’ve been forced to get the shot yeah they demand that we do. Appears to be strictly political move.

Thomas Bender
4 days ago

I do not support the mandate. This whole issue of mandates etc. was created to draw the public discourse from Afghanistan. If Biden loses the ability to talk about Covid or blame Trump for every other ill facing us, he would literally be wearing the Emperor’s new clothes. He would have no place to hide.

4 days ago

I do not support a mandate at all. I am fully vaccinated because I chose to but if others do not want to then let them take the risk. It’s time to just get back to normal and let people do as they will. If some want to take the risk of not getting vaccinated then let them. It is not the governments business.

4 days ago

I’m not sure these particular vacccines will ever be accepted because of how politicized they were made prior to the election – including Pres. Biden and the vice president. That’s how all of this started – as anything related to Trump was bashed immediately.
Additionally there was so much not known about COVID as well as the vaccines themselves that what was published everywhere sounded, regardless of whether it was justified, wishy-washy and changed by the moment. It sounded (and still does) to the average American that it was being handled poorly.
I believe in getting the vaccines. I am on the fence about requiring them. The examples noted of our “history of vaccines” aren’t exactly the same as what the President is asking for. My take is based on this: A family member (age 50) almost died from COVID about a year ago.. but a co-worker (in his late 40’s) almost died and had his lungs ruined by the flu 3 years ago. And the flu vaccine is not required. Our local paper today published the first defence that I thought made sense of why vaccines are sorely needed due to the fact that not being vaccinated induced the creation of variants.. although my understanding is that the virus itself seems to be overly hell-bent on creating worse and worse variants unlike most of nature (thank you Dr. Fauci).
I think that the news media should stay out of this.
Regarding the rest of President Biden’s requirements – once again, they are too specific and somewhat willy-nilly in defining who is required to be vaccinated – some do and some don’t, places with 99 don’t but with 100 workers do, people coming in the south border can reject it, postal service doesn’t but UPS and FEDEX do – and if you had COVID already your natural immunity is ignored – huh??? I find that reprehensible. It reminds me of how I, living in a rural community with an unfixable car, could not buy a car in PA for months because of COVID and almost missed my husband’s oncologist visits – after all, rules are rules – my buying a needed means of transportation would have spread COVID somehow someway in some stupid person’s mind. So…it smacks then of partisanship. How else to explain it? It just sounds like we’re being used as the pawns in someone’s political spats.

3 days ago

No vaccine mandates period. Main objection concerns those who have recovered from COVID, they already have the antibodies and many have given plasma to help others recover. Also, why are we not focused on helping people recover from COVID versus putting all our efforts into a vaccine which is proving to be only a way to getting a less severe case of COVID? It’s time to return to Normal and start treating people as soon as they feel sick with COVID-19 symptoms, vaccinated or not.

3 days ago

I absolutely Do Not support mandatory vaccination. It is a slippery slope. We haven’t been proving our vaccinations (for mumps, polio etc) before this, to get on a plane or get a job. Now is not the time to start.

Jean Reif Robinson
3 days ago

Yes, yes, and yes again!

3 days ago

No! This is a free country. Binden is stepping all over our rights. It’s the individuals choice. And again, if you look at the CDC websight and review the comorbidities you get a very different picture of what’s really killing people. This is political. And shame on the media for shirking their responsibility to get to the bottom of this. And while the vaccine may reduce symptoms, it does not prevent you from getting and spreading Covid. And the inconsistency of the application of who needs to get the vaccine should throw up all kinds of red flags. Not Congress, illegal immigrants, etc. But hard working average American must? Wake up!

Sydney Fuller
3 days ago

It’s not about your political affiliation, it’s about doing the right thing for our country and future generations. Remember POLIO, and vaccinations in schools?

Reply to  Sydney Fuller
3 days ago

This is different because this new technology has never been administered to such a mass number of diverse people. Just for history sake, there was a problem with the polio vaccine in 1955 & they had to abandoned ( it because it was defective. Until more time goes by, we just don’t know what the long term affects will be (if any). In the meantime, some people may want to wait and see. Also, anyone who was previously infected with polio did not have to be vaccinated. Natural immunity should be addressed and recognized for covid as has been since the inception of the first vaccines in America.

3 days ago

I think it should be up to the individual to decide what is best for them. Or what is next? Maybe we should wear a badge telling everybody our medical history. Or maybe the government will want to tell me what I can eat and drink? It’s what’s best for me ? Right?? And shouldn’t Biden want the people who don’t want to get vaccinated not get vaccinated because according to him they will die. And it’s one less vote against him come reelection time?

3 days ago

The recent flip-flop on mandates has nothing to do with science-based virus management, How so? Because an “effective” vaccine would protect those who chose to be inoculated, which should neutralize concerns about what the unvaccinated did or did not do. Just as it is, for example, with the flu, or any other virus that morphs rather quickly and routinely. Requiring citizens who are disinclined for a variety of reasons to get a mandatory vaccination (only one of the jabs – the J&J – is actually a traditional vaccination, btw, and that’s not yet out of clinical trial) is a flagrant violation of individual and human rights at so many levels as to be almost staggering. For starters, what in hell happened to, “My body, my choice?” Hypocrites…

Lise M Travis
3 days ago

Absolutely! The science is clear- masking, social distancing and vaccinations save lives.

Reply to  Lise M Travis
3 days ago

Just as natural immunity from previous infection does but for some reason is not recognized.