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Alabama Republicans oppose additional COVID-19 mandates

“Getting a vaccine and wearing a mask should be a choice, not a government mandate,” said Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth.


A number of Republican leaders in the state of Alabama have announced their opposition to governments mandating that citizens be forced to wear masks or be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“If President Biden wanted to increase vaccine rates, he should have early on praised the Trump Administration for leading the charge and developing them under Operation Warp Speed,” said Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama. “We don’t need vaccine mandates coming from the government, what we need is vaccine leadership. I am all for encouragement, but I am TOTALLY AGAINST FORCED SUBMISSION for federal employees. Also, I wonder if abortion advocates will continue the ‘it’s my body, my choice’ refrain when it comes to this executive action.”

Aderholt’s statement was in response to an executive order from President Joe Biden, in which the president ordered all federal employees to either get the COVID-19 vaccine or be required to wear masks, socially distance and face travel restrictions.

Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth said: “Getting a vaccine and wearing a mask should be a choice, not a government mandate.  The CDC has lost all credibility with its confusing and contradictory guidance, and Fauci continues to be a disaster.  I believe people should get the vaccine…but it must not be forced on anyone.”

Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, said on social media: “Some in Washington want to dictate to the American people what we can and cannot do, but the @freedomcaucus believes in giving you the liberty and freedom to decide for yourself what you need to do to protect your health,” referring to a Freedom Caucus position statement opposing the vaccine and mask mandates.

Congressman Gary Palmer, R-Alabama, said of Biden’s order: “Today’s action makes it crystal clear that ‘two weeks to slow the spread’ has morphed into ‘show me your papers,’” said Palmer. “Apparently, ‘my body my choice’ only applies when President Biden approves of taking a human life. Individuals should not be required to give up their freedoms to work for the federal government.”

“What the President is doing is forcing Americans employed by the federal government to take the vaccine, become second class citizens, or find a new job,” Palmer said. “While I encourage all Americans to get the vaccine, coercing people to take it, while also reversing course on mask mandates, will only foment more skepticism.”

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The Veterans Administration issued orders requiring its healthcare worker employees to get the vaccine prior to the Biden executive order.

Congressman Barry Moore, R-Alabama, said: “A lot of folks have reached out to me with concerns about the VA’s new vaccine mandate for health care workers. I strongly oppose this requirement and believe individuals should consult with their doctor to make an individual decision – not be forced by their employer. Rest assured, I’m working with my colleagues on this matter. In the meantime, please note that the VA did include an exemption for medical or religious purposes.”

The state of Alabama has banned vaccine passports with Senate Bill 267. According to this law, no customer of a business or student at a school can be required to show proof of having received the COVID-19 vaccination for service.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall explained: “No government, school, or business in Alabama may demand that a constituent, student, or customer, respectively, be vaccinated for COVID-19 or show proof of his or her vaccination for COVID-19. The law’s new protections are in addition to existing medical or religious-based exemptions from immunizations.”

Some colleges and schools are reportedly going to attempt to require the vaccine anyway as the Legislature did not include an enforcement mechanism in the legislation. It is not known yet how the state will respond. There is no protection under state law, preventing an employer from requiring that their employees be vaccinated or wear masks.

Over 70 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Alabama has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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