By Corinne Murdock
Governor Doug Ducey wasted no time to respond to President Joe Biden’s latest COVID-19 update given Thursday evening, calling the vaccine mandate for private employers “big government overreach,” “dictatorial,” and “un-American.” The governor indicated that court challenges would be sure to follow in the coming days. Ducey promised to push back against Biden’s orders.
Ducey tweeted the following while Biden was still announcing his executive order:
“This is exactly the kind of big government overreach we have tried so hard to prevent in Arizona — now the Biden-Harris administration is hammering down on private businesses and individual freedoms in an unprecedented and dangerous way,” wrote Ducey. “This will never stand up in court. This dictatorial approach is wrong, un-American and will do far more harm than good. How many workers will be displaced? How many kids kept out of classrooms? How many businesses fined? The vaccine is and should be a choice. We must and will push back.”
Biden announced that any employers with over 100 employees must require COVID-19 vaccinations or implement weekly testing. The White House estimated that this will impact over 80 million workers.
Furthermore, those employers must give paid time off (PTO) to those employees who choose to get vaccinated. That PTO rule will come from the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) use of the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).
Federal employees will no longer have the opt-out for Biden’s vaccine mandate. Those employed by or contracting with the federal government must now get vaccinated. Additionally, any health care workers whose employers participate in Medicare and Medicaid must be vaccinated. A reported 50,000 providers will be affected – over 17 million health care workers.
Biden also announced that the TSA would increase the fine amount for those who don’t mask up while traveling.
The full list of all the new COVID-19 policies are available here.
As Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained, these new measures are part of the Biden Administration’s “Six Prong Plan” to overcome COVID-19. Psaki promised that these initial updated mandates were only the first to come in a series of new orders over the next few weeks.
The six prong plan is as follows: 1) get more people vaccinated; 2) prepare for booster [shots]; 3) keeping kids safe and in school; 4) increasing testing and masking; 5) protecting our economy; and 6) strengthening our surge response.
Preceding his announcement of updated COVID policies, Biden made a number of claims. He also took aim at elected leadership that opposed mandatory vaccinations or masking.
Biden claimed the COVID-19 vaccine was “safe [and] effective.” He didn’t elaborate on what his standards are for “effective”; the CDC has clarified that the vaccine isn’t 100 percent effective.
“This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” stated Biden. “And it’s caused by the fact that despite America having unprecedented and successful vaccination. Despite the fact that, for almost five months, three vaccines have been available in almost 80,000 different locations, we still have nearly 80 million Americans that have failed to get the shot.”
The president asserted that certain, unnamed elected officials were “actively working to undermine the fight against COVID-19.”
“Instead of encouraging people to get vaccinated and mask up, they’re ordering mobile morgues for the unvaccinated that have died from COVID in their communities,” said Biden. “This is totally unacceptable.”
Biden also claimed that having a 75 percent vaccination rate in the country wasn’t enough. According to the Mayo Clinic, it would take about 70 percent of the population who have recovered from COVID-19 to “halt the pandemic.” They didn’t offer a clear estimate of how many individuals would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
However, the CDC stated in a study published last month that vaccination offers a higher protection than prior COVID-19 infection.
Watch Biden’s address here.