Helena, Montana - April 19, 2020: A man protesting holding a freedom from tyranny sign at a protest at the Capitol of the shutdown of businesses. (Brandi Lyon Photography/Shutterstock.com)

Some feds, contractors resist vaccine orders

The deadlines for federal employees and federal contractors to get mandatory vaccinations loom—but, as a new report discusses—a sizable minority of workers continue to delay on getting their shots. 

The report, in U.S. News, describes various layers of continued delays and some resistance to the federal vaccination mandates—currently scheduled to become effective Nov. 22 for feds and Dec. 8 for employees of federal contractors, affecting more than 80 million employees overall.

There are some federal employees and employees of companies that do at least some contract work with the government who may only be hesitating, and others who say they absolutely have dug in their heels against inoculation. The motives for resistance vary considerably—sometimes it is out of anxieties over the vaccines themselves, while for others opposition is based on political principle or other philosophical concerns about government orders on any medical matter.

The report also outlines too the phenomenon of politicization surrounding the issue. The Democratic Party and its leading lights continue, by and large, to back more stringent measures against COVID-19 and its casualties. Over 745,000 people have so far succumbed to coronavirus and died on American soil since the pandemic began, according to government statistics, propelled in recent months both by the newer Delta strain and areas of the country where fewer people are vaccinated. Yet, meanwhile, the other major party—the Republican party—has seen many of its top statehouse leaders including governors and attorneys general remain foursquare against vaccine mandates, including those aimed at the workplace.

A well-publicized group of GOP attorneys general from just about half the states have written the White House requesting that it reverse the executive actions calling for the federal mandates. A number of GOP governors, including Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) and Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), among others, have turned up the volume with their own lawsuits or legal actions against the federal government's moves, backed by some workers and their organizations. 

The report notes that the mandates and the deadlines, for now, remain in place and on track to go into effect. It also highlights the fact that according to leading survey researchers, a very strong majority of Americans and workers continue to support mandates. Still, if sizable numbers of necessary workers either quit or are disciplined out of the workplace over the coming enforcement of the mandates, there could be further disruptions in an already COVID-dinged economy, the report concludes.

It should be noted that the White House has offered an olive branch of sorts recently, tweaking the policy to permit flexibility for companies, to let them have time to attempt to convince or provide educational materials regarding the vaccines to recalcitrant workers, in lieu of hasty harsh discipline or firing.

2021 Digital Almanac

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