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History Shows GOP’s Resistance to Vaccine Mandates Will Be Futile

History Shows GOP’s Resistance to Vaccine Mandates Will Be Futile

Republican government officials continue to challenge the Biden administration’s mandates aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19, but legal experts predict the lawsuits and bans on mandates will largely prove fruitless because the law allows for such public safety measures. Ten states filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking to block the administration’s vaccine mandates for healthcare workers because it could “exacerbate an alarming shortage of health care workers, particularly in rural communities, that has already reached a boiling point”, the filing states. All the states but one have Republican attorneys general.

Meanwhile, in Congress, where all of the members are vaccinated, there’s a continuing dispute between mostly Democrats on one side who argue they are trying to curb the deadly virus and Republicans on the other who say the Biden administration is involved in “government overreach”, often using unproven and dangerous right-wing rhetoric that can veer into the conspiratorial.

BROOKLYN BRIDGE AND CITY HALL PA, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES – 2021/10/25: Municipal workers of the city march across Brooklyn bridge and rally at City Hall Park against vaccination mandate. Municipal workers from New York Police Department, Sanitation Department, Fire Department, Department of Education, Department of Correction, Parks Department, City Health and Hospitals, Metropolitan Transit Authority and other city office workers mandated by mayor to get vaccinated against COVID-19 disease by November 1, 2021 or will be left out of work and out of paycheck. More than 5 thousand protesters participated and they were joined by Republican Party mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Judges in two states issued new rulings on Wednesday that offered potentially different outcomes for masking mandates in schools. In Texas, a federal judge ruled that Governor Greg Abbot’s ban on school mask mandates violated the rights of students with disabilities, which clears the way for districts to issue requirements for face coverings. The Texas attorney general tweeted that he was “considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision”.

The rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which the federal court blocked, would take effect on 4 January and require large companies to ensure their employees have been vaccinated or regularly administer Covid-19 tests for those who decline the vaccine and require them to wear masks at work. It would affect an estimated 84 million workers.

While the Republicans continue to play to their base and push anti-mandate messaging, legal experts say there is precedent for such health policy measures and that they will largely remain in place. Pointing to previous government vaccine mandates for polio and other public health risks and their effectiveness, both health and legal experts agree that that country is on track to reach an acceptable enough percentage of vaccinated people to begin loosening some restrictions.

 

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