Vaccine mandate from Biden unacceptable, say Utah state officials

Nov 1, 2021, 4:56 PM
vaccine mandate...
FILE: Epidemiology nurse Amy Carter tells the Weber-Morgan Board of Health that COVID cases among school-age children are rising, while opponents of mask mandates wait for their turn to speak. (Photo: Weber-Morgan Health Department)
(Photo: Weber-Morgan Health Department)

SALT LAKE CITY — The president of the Utah Senate said vaccines work but mandates don’t.  That is why he and other state leaders are rejecting President Joe Biden’s upcoming federal vaccine mandate for any business in the US with more than 100 workers.

The Biden administration will publish in the coming days a federal mandate requiring businesses with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s estimated to cover about two-thirds of the private-sector workforce, according to CNBC.

The administration gives workers who refuse the vaccine the option to be tested regularly and a requirement to wear a mask at work, according to a US Labor Department spokesperson.

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On Saturday, Oct. 30th a press release announced that Utah officials — Gov. Spencer Cox, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, Senate President J. Stuart Adams, House Speaker Brad Wilson, State Auditor John Dougall and State Treasurer Marlo M. Oaks  — are uniting by joining a lawsuit opposing President Biden’s federal vaccine mandate.

On March 16, Cox signed a bill that prohibits state agencies from requiring people to get a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. But, the bill does not apply to employees who work in a medical setting and are required to receive vaccinations to perform their assigned duties and responsibilities of the job, as reported by Becker’s Hospital Review.

Utah’s three exemptions

Senate President Adams joined KSL NewsRadio’s Dave Noriega to discuss why the group of politicians rejected the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

According to the state’s website, 54.7% of Utahns were fully vaccinated as of Nov. 1, 2021.

Adams said vaccines work, but what doesn’t is forcing people to be vaccinated or mandates. 

“If you don’t want to get vaccinated, you can object for three reasons: religious, medical, and personal. And we’ve had very high — 90s plus, maybe 95, 98, 99% acceptance of vaccines, but we’ve had it because we haven’t forced people. We haven’t had riots in the street. We haven’t had people refuse to go to work,” he said.

Adams said the Utah Legislature plans to take up the matter of the federal mandate during a special session “in a couple of weeks.”

Biden’s mandate provides an opt-out

“If you don’t want to be vaccinated, OK, then you have to get tested often. Isn’t that a fair compromise?” Dave was pointing out that the President’s vaccine mandate provides an opt-out option.

“It might be, but I think the fact that it came out as a mandate without exemptions, at least about we’ve heard. And again, we don’t even have the details of it yet. It’s causing a lot of confusion because it was about a month or so ago, and they haven’t yet rolled out the guidelines. … It’s caused so much confusion, just been extremely poorly done,” Adams said.

The Senate president said he would like to see the three exemptions (religious, medical, and personal) that Utah allows apply to the federal mandate. Adams said legislation regarding that aspect will likely be addressed in the special session of the Utah Legislature.

“I’m extremely convinced that if we allow those three exemptions, we’ll be able to function. We’ll have a very high percentage of people getting vaccinated and will do it in a way that doesn’t cause the contention,” he said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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