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The Politics Behind a Covid- 19 Vaccine Mandate

About 67% of eligible US residents have received the first dose of the Covid vaccine (70% of adults as of August 2nd). However, even as the Delta variant is becoming a bigger issue, vaccine rates have dropped drastically since the spring. With a peak of 3.4 million shots given per day in the month of April, daily shots have fallen to 600,000. Now, as the Delta variant causes issues, more parts of the country are changing their regulation requirements and even the CDC changed their stance on masks for vaccinated citizens.

The question arises if vaccine mandates are necessary, moral, and politically smart. The unfortunate truth is that politicians are going to be politicians. Whether or not they might save lives may not overpower the ramifications of a vaccine mandate for a politician. They need to always

be weighing the options they have because any small move could ruin a career. Things as extreme as forcing a vaccine upon someone can quickly change the opinions of voters and ensure they

won’t get reelected. Politicians might choose to play it safe, or air on the side of caution when 33% of eligible residents have not gotten the vaccine, and 30% of adults (their voters) haven’t received the vaccine. That is a lot of people who could swing things in the opposite direction and a lot of people who likely will be angry.

According to a Vox article the six reasons for Americans not getting the vaccine are the following:

  1. Lack of access (both perceived and real)

  2. Covid-19 doesn’t seems like a threat

  3. Vaccine side effects

  4. Lack of trust in vaccinations

  5. Lack of trust in institutions

  6. Conspiracy theories

In conclusion of that article, “All of the reasons people provide for not getting vaccinated, from lack of access to conspiracy theories, share a common theme: A significant portion of Americans don’t believe the vaccines are worth the potential downsides,” (Lopez).

While writing this article more and more mandates and requirements are coming into place, (please be mindful that information will vary per hour and day), but here a few big pieces of information to be aware of:

The Department of Veterans Affairs will require 115,000 of their frontline health care workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in the next two months. “I am doing this because it’s the best way to keep our veterans safe, full stop,” (Denis McDonough, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs).

As of last week, 9 states have enacted 11 laws with prohibitions on vaccine mandates, with with Arizona and Arkansas having each enacted two.

"To clarify: There will be no nationwide mandate. I was referring to mandates by private institutions and portions of the federal government," Dr. Rochelle Walensky (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director) said in a Twitter post. "There will be no federal mandate."

“Today, the President will announce that to help protect workers and their communities, every federal government employee and onsite contractor will be asked to attest to their vaccination status,” (, July 29th 2021). If you are not vaccinated many inconvenient requirements must be met when working for the federal government.

“A national vaccine requirement is not under consideration at this time, that’s where we are at with that,” (July 30th, Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Deputy Press Secretary). A little context to this statement: as the White House Deputy Press Secretary, she is speaking on behalf of the White House. President Biden has been adamant on not wanting to mandate vaccines nationwide, and not acting on mandates himself. Back in 2020 President Biden said, “I don’t think it should be mandatory, I wouldn’t demand it be mandatory, but I would do everything in my power.”


What do you believe. Are mandates the right thing to do? Or are mandates completely wrong? Should healthcare workers be mandated to receive the vaccine? Visit the forum to post and share your own opinions and thoughts!


Works Cited

(The Podcast that inspired this article)

Barbaro, Michael, and Jennifer Steinhauer, hosts. "The Vaccine Mandate

Conundrum." The Daily, New York Times, 27 July 2021.

"ACT SHEET: President Biden to Announce New Actions to Get More Americans Vaccinated and Slow the Spread of the Delta Variant.", 29 July 2021, Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

"Biden says he would not make coronavirus vaccine mandatory." YouTube, uploaded by CBS This Morning, 5 Dec. 2020, Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

Irfan, Umair. "The 4 main fault lines that divide the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.", 29 July 2021, Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

Jaffe, Alexandra, et al. "Biden orders tough new vaccination rules for federal workers.", 29 July 2021, Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

Kates, Jennifer, et al. "The Red/Blue Divide in COVID-19 Vaccination Rates is Growing.", 8 July 2021, Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

Lopez, German. "The 6 reasons Americans aren't getting vaccinated.", 2 June 2021, Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

Lovelace, Berkeley, Jr., and Nate Rattner. "U.S. reaches 70% Covid vaccine milestone for adults about a month behind Biden's goal.", 2 Aug. 2021, Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

Steinhauer, Jennifer. "V.A. Issues Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers, a First for a Federal Agency.", 26 July 2021, Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

"White House: National Vaccine Mandate Not Under Consideration." YouTube, uploaded by Bloomberg Quicktake: Now, 30 July 2021, Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

Zargham, Mohammad. "U.S. CDC chief says there will be no federal mandate on COVID-19 vaccine." Edited by Leslie Adler., 31 July 2021, Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

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