MINOT, N.D. — President Joe Biden has issued sweeping mandates for vaccination, announcing that his administration will try to force private-sector employers with workforces over 100, as well as federal contractors, to get shots.
He's also mandating shots for health care workers and federal employees.
I say try, because this mandate will be swiftly challenged in court, and the constitutionality of such an order is very much in doubt.
But while I believe President Biden really does want the 80 million or so Americans who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine but haven't yet availed themselves of it to get the shot (which is a feeling I share), what is motivating this mandate, I believe, is politics.
The president needed to wag the dog, and a figurative war on the vaccine skeptical is apparently just the ticket.
Because let's face it, the anti-vax crowd isn't a very sympathetic group of people.
But this is terrible public policy, and not just because I don't believe the president has the power to order this. Whether he can is a separate issue from whether he should.
This is bad policy because it's needlessly provocative.
We were making progress in putting shots in arms. Every day, thousands and thousands of Americans were being persuaded to get the shot. Now Biden has turned this into yet another front in the culture war, to the detriment of the cause of not just this vaccination drive, but the credibility of public health policy in general.
We already have a crisis of trust in this country. Now we're going to dump gas on that fire by forcing needles into the arms of tens of millions of Americans?
Perhaps worse is the way Biden is talking about his mandate makes it seem like the vaccines don't work. "We're going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers," he says.
BIDEN: "We're going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers." pic.twitter.com/Xf3KrDC5Gv— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 9, 2021
Vaccinated people don't need to be protected from the unvaccinated.
Vaccinated people have protection. They've been vaccinated.
The people who need to be protected are unvaccinated.
If the point is to convince people that the vaccines work and that getting one is a good medical choice, this is not the way to do it.
But it is, I suppose, a good way for Biden to change the subject from Afghanistan and other topics that are inconvenient for his administration.
Please, choose to get vaccinated. Or, at the very least, talk to your doctor about them. Not because President Biden is trying to force them on people, but because the data shows they work, and they're the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and get our society back to normal.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at email@example.com.