Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Gets Little Reaction from Seacoast Politicians
President Joe Biden's order requiring companies that employ at least 100 workers to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or impose weekly testing got tepid support from Seacoast politicians on Thursday.
"My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We've made vaccinations free, safe and convenient. The vaccine is FDA approved. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot," Biden said. "We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us."
Biden directed the Labor Department to issue the requirement that comes with fines of $14,000 per violation for companies that don't comply. Upwards of 100 million people could be affected by the mandate.
A separate executive order required all federal employees to take the shot with no option for testing.
"Forcing people to choose between their jobs and livelihood or the vaccine is not an appropriate way to increase vaccine uptake," Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement released Friday.
"Yesterday's actions by the Biden Administration are another example of saying one thing, then doing another and creating instability and mistrust at a time when the American people need serious leadership. New Hampshire's workforce, most especially in health care, is at a critical level and unilateral mandates by the federal government could lead to shortages in multiple areas that are already at grave risk," Sununu said.
The vaccine is safe and we will continue to encourage Granite Staters to talk with their doctor or pharmacist to feel comfortable about their choice to receive the COVID vaccine.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, was the only member of the Seacoast congressional delegation to comment on the address by fellow Democrat Biden as of Thursday night and encouraged vaccinations as a way to end the pandemic but did not mention the president by name.
"We’ve been fighting COVID for nearly 2 years – more than 650k Americans have died. Most deaths today are preventable. Everyone who can should get a vaccine to protect those who can’t - kids & immunocompromised - & to prevent new, deadlier strains. Let’s end the pandemic together," Shaheen tweeted.
Biden received enthusiastic support from Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree who shared his frustration with the unvaccinated and was "heartened" the president is "laser focused" on ending the pandemic.
"The frustrating refusal of people to get their free vaccination has given COVID-19 new life + allowed the Delta variant to spread through our communities. Get vaccinated," Pingree tweeted.
U. S Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, D-NH, and Gov. Chris Sununu, R-NH, did not issue comments but two of the GOP candidates seeking to replace Pappas did.
They both went after Biden.
"I'd like to know under what authority will he be usurping the powers of states to operate their own affairs (10th amendment). How will he be violating the constitution to pull this off," Republican Julian Acciard asked on his Twitter account early Friday morning. "All politics are local, the government closest to you is supposed to have the greatest impact."
First Congressional District candidate Karoline Leavitt blasted Biden for the mandate.
"Joe Biden’s tyrannical vaccine mandate is a stunning violation of individual liberty, not based in science, and will be detrimental to our economy. His cronies in the Fake News are about to go all in, guilting the American people into complying. DO NOT COMPLY!" she wrote on her Twitter account.
54% of all New Hampshire residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with 59% having received at least one dose as of Thursday.
NOTE: This report was updated after it was initially posted to include comment from Gov. Sununu and Julian Acciard.