Not a vaccine mandate, strictly speaking, but the next best thing:
President Biden will announce Thursday that all federal employees will be required to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or face repeated testing mandates, a White House official said, a dramatic escalation of the administration’s effort to combat the spread of the delta variant.
The new rules will closely align with policies recently put in place for government officials in California and New York City, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose the plan. The White House is not planning on firing government employees who aren’t vaccinated but will impose a number of restrictions on them as a way to encourage them to receive one of the vaccines that have received emergency-use authorization.
The plan is part of a change in tack by the White House in recent days as the delta variant has spread markedly through parts of the United States, particularly among unvaccinated Americans. Public health experts have long said that getting at least 70 percent of the public vaccinated is the single most important tool in controlling the pandemic, but some parts of the United States have fallen far short of that target.And some authorities are urging an even higher rate of vaccinations now, given the increased virulence of the variant.
I, needless to say, have no problem with outright mandates. But what we might call the “NFL option” — not a strict requirement to take the vaccine, but making people who refuse bear much more of the burden of refusing — is a reasonable alternative. If you refuse to get vaccinated, get used to the swab up your nose should reasonably address any questions about personal autonomy. What DeSeantis et al are proposing instead is confusing free riding with freedom — letting people do what they want with no consequences even when the consequences are borne by other people as well. The latter should be rejected in the strongest possible terms.