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Vaccine Mandates? Depending where you live Some say Yes, Some Say NO

January 27, 2022

As the Delta variant began to recede and our individual freedoms began to return to some semblance of normality, Omicron took its place which saw calls for more restrictions to be put in place to curb the spread of the highly infectious variant.

From wearing masks to practicing social distancing to temporarily closing businesses, politicians and decision makers tread a fine line between saving lives and protecting the economy, while still maintaining our individual freedoms during the pandemic. However, many media outlets and public figures have pushed back against these restrictions arguing mostly that the seriousness of COVID has been overplayed – the rationale for this pushback is about protecting our freedoms.

• The Supreme Court recently blocked an enforcement of a mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees.
• Majority of respondents believe politicians should disclose their own vaccine status.

The main case against vaccine mandates is about personal choice, and the government should have no say in the choices people make about their own health. Proponents of vaccine mandates, on the other hand, argue that while personal choice is fine, it becomes problematic when that action affects the health of others. And, therefore, going unvaccinated during a pandemic does hurt other people, either by risking they get infected themselves, or by placing enormous pressure on the health care system, meaning there may not be enough resources to treat non-COVID medical emergencies.

The Supreme Court recently issued mixed rulings in a pair of cases challenging the government's vaccine mandates, blocking enforcement of a mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees, while allowing the requirement for certain health care workers to go into effect., a biotechnical products distribution company, conducted a survey of 6,430 Americans which included the following question:

Do you think a vaccine mandate is an attack on your freedom?

The results reveal that almost 2 in 3 (63%) Floridians do not believe that vaccine mandates, whether imposed by the government or by businesses, are not an attack on their individual liberties. However, the results vary depending on location.

This figure was highest in Hawaii, where 83% of people feel vaccine mandates are not an attack on their individual freedom. Comparatively, however, this figure was 30% in West Virginia.

One particular area of contention regarding freedoms under COVID has been about mask wearing in schools, and these arguments have largely been drawn according to political orientations, particularly in states such as Florida. Back in September, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis appealed a judge's ruling that a blanket ban on mask mandates exceeds the state government's authority. Politicians who are against mask mandates say it’s the parents, and not any government, who should be making decisions for their children. And when it comes to children, the US law does give parents considerable leeway, particularly if religion is involved, to make decisions on their child’s behalf. However, proponents of mask mandates in schools see it a different way – they say that children have their own rights which are independent of their parents’ choices. For example, a parent cannot by law deny their children a basic education or access to medical treatment. Moreover, vaccine mandates already exist for childhood diseases, and so the same should be applied to COVID vaccines.

For anyone sitting on the fence when it comes to individual freedoms versus vaccine mandates, the advice coming from politicians can be disorientating. Many anti-vaccine politicians are fully vaccinated themselves. therefore also wanted to gauge people’s opinions on how much of an example politicians should set when it comes to their own personal choices about vaccines.

They asked:
Do you think politicians should be required to publicly disclose their vaccine status?

64% of Floridians agreed that it would be prudent for politicians, who make decisions on behalf of the electorate, to formally disclose whether they are vaccinated or not (compared to a national average of 64%).

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