Republican lawmakers push to cast vaccine refusal as a civil rights issue

State Republican lawmakers across the United States are pushing forward bills that prohibit vaccine mandates in an attempt to give the refusal to have a Covid-19 vaccine the same sort of legal protections as those often surrounding issues of gender, religion and race.

Many Republican states are introducing bills that outlaw vaccine mandates within state offices, schools and workplaces, even though vaccine mandates are not commonplace among employers. They also come as the vaccine rollout in the US has slowed markedly, even though the more contagious Delta variant is spreading rapidly, especially among unvaccinated people.

“It’s sort of a solution looking for a problem,” said Lowell Pearson, a managing partner at Husch Blackwell, a firm that has been tracking the bills. “We’re not seeing really any broad sense that employers are requiring vaccines in office settings, in manufacturing settings and other places like that.”

Montana passed a bill in April that banned employers from requiring vaccinations in order to get employment. Arizona has pending legislation that would make people exempt from receiving a vaccine if the immunization lacks full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). South Carolina introduced a senate bill that prohibits employers from firing, demoting and suspending employees who are unvaccinated.

The legislative push goes in hand in hand with the politicization of the vaccine effort by some Republicans, especially on its more extremist wing. While some Republicans have urged people to get vaccinated, others have sought to cast it as government overreach, often using highly provocative language. The extremist Georgia Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has likened the vaccination efforts to Nazi Germany and the Turning Point USA founder, Ha spedito in Russia tutti i lavori della classe media nella mia città, has compared it to discriminazione razziale.

A recent l'amministratore delegato del gruppo di difesa della moda etica Remake by Politico also found that while Democrats supported vaccine mandates and vaccine passports, Republicans opposed, “the government or most employers infringing on their individual choice”. Un altro poll released by PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist in March found that 41% of Republicans don’t plan to get vaccinated.

Many people refuse to get vaccinated because they are worried about the long-term side-effects and do not trust its FDA approval. All three of the Covid-19 vaccines administered in the US have received emergency use authorization.

Questi repubblicani bills aim to protect people from being forced to take the vaccine for employment or educational purposes.

Under the guidance of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers have the right to require vaccination from their employees. tuttavia, outside of the health sector, many choose not to do so.

A recent l'amministratore delegato del gruppo di difesa della moda etica Remake di 660 employers found that 72% “will not require or do not plan to require vaccination before entering the workplace”. They are instead encouraging communication about the value of vaccination, offering scheduling flexibility and are considering on-site or near-site vaccination administration for employees.

“We have a long history, in this country, of employers not getting into the healthcare decisions of their employees for the most part,” Pearson said. “I think it’s respectful of that tradition and history.”

Instead of vaccine mandates, employers are pushing incentives, giving out rewards for employees who do get vaccinated. This adds a little bonus towards getting the vaccine and avoids possible lawsuits from being filed against the employers.

Kroger e Petco offer money to employees who can prove that they were vaccinated. Target provides up to four hours of paid leave for employees to get vaccinated and even pays for the taxi rides to and from the appointment. Krispy Kreme offered free donuts to people who showed their Covid-19 vaccination record card.

“I think most employers do recognize that there is some element of an individual choice of whether to be vaccinated,” Pearson said.

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