America is learning to live with Covid. The Biden Administration and many corporations are pushing vaccine mandates, but America is pushing back.
Many government mandates have already been rescinded because too many firefighters and police officers were going to be terminated for refusing to be vaccinated. Many corporations have also walked back their mandates when they realized they wouldn’t have enough workers to keep the doors open. It’s great to be confident your workers won’t get sick, but you’ve still got to be able to provide the services the public needs. Missing from these mandates was scientific and common sense. If you’ve already had Covid, you’ve got natural immunity and you don’t need the vaccines. If you create a working environment where no one wants to work, you can’t keep your workers.
Once again, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is taking the lead in pushing back against government and corporate mandates. Earlier, DeSantis took action to prevent cruise ships in Florida from mandating vaccinations for all passengers. That decision is currently being challenged in the courts. This week he signed a quartet of bills that put new restrictions on vaccine mandates by employers. “We’re making sure that people have a right to earn a living,” DeSantis said. “We are respecting people’s individual freedom in this state.”
The bill was the product of a special legislative session called by the governor. The main bill, HB1B, bans vaccine mandates by local governments on employees. For private businesses, any vaccine requirements for workers must include exemptions for religious or medical reasons. Any worker who previously had Covid-19 is also exempt, as well as anyone who agrees to regular testing for Covid-19 and wearing protective gear.
The bill is a direct response to President Biden’s executive order imposing a vaccine requirement on businesses with more than 100 workers.(The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has since stayed the mandate’s enforcement.)
To be sure, DeSantis did not get everything he wanted in the bill. The new law expires in June 2023 and doesn’t help workers who were already subject to vaccine requirements by private businesses. Walt Disney World, the largest employer in Central Florida, required its workers to be inoculated earlier this year after negotiating with its unions. DeSantis has already filed suit against the Biden rule but wanted to go further with new state laws restricting vaccine mandates. The rule has already been temporarily stayed by a federal court in a separate case, and DeSantis has stated he believes it will be struck down.
The latest statistics show 196 million Americans or 71% of adults are fully vaccinated; 228 million or 82% are partly vaccinated. If you add in those who have survived a Covid infection and have natural immunity, the number of unvaccinated people without natural immunity is quite small. These “antivaxxers”, as they have become known, are unlikely to change their minds in the near future.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. appears to be the darling of the antivaxxers. He recently released a book, called The Real Anthony Fauci, in which he accuses Dr. Fauci, Bill Gates, and Big Pharma of being partners in a $60 billion global vaccine scheme that flooded the world with propaganda exaggerating Covid’s dangers. It has become an instant Amazon bestseller. I’m no fan of Fauci or Gates, but I doubt Gates needs the money. And Big Pharma has its many detractors, but where would the world be now if not for the vaccines they have produced? We should not be surprised that Kennedy is an antivaxxer about Covid. He is the same Kennedy responsible for spreading lies about vaccines causing autism. We should also realize that being against vaccines is not a conservative ideology. Kennedy is a hard-left liberal.
With most of America vaccinated or having acquired natural immunity, it’s time to let people make up their own minds. I am definitely pro-vaccine – I’ve had three Pfizer shots and my wife has had 3 Moderna shots. I believe the government should encourage people to get vaccinated, but vaccine mandates violate our freedom to choose what’s best for us. Those who choose to refuse vaccination understand the risks – now let them make their own decisions.
(Disney suspended their vaccine mandate shortly after Governor DeSantis signed the bill.)