Republican Members of Congress on Thursday sent a letter to President Biden eviscerating the administration's heavy-handed attempt to force coronavirus vaccination on health care workers who don't want it. Last month he directed the CDC "to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all staff within all Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities" as part of his whole-of-government approach to vaccinate "96, 97, 98 percent" of Americans.
The members who wrote the letter were less confident. "According to the United States Census Bureau, 15.7% of American adults are hesitant about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine with 7.2% reporting that they 'definitely' will not receive the vaccine," they wrote. Those numbers could be even higher, as some respondents may have been unwilling to reveal their opposition to the vaccine to a stranger on the phone. "There are going to be health care workers who are going to be fired or who are going to just quit," said Congressman Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (R-Ga.) on "Washington Watch."
In fact, some over-eager hospital systems have already begun firing employees who refuse to get the coronavirus vaccine, even before the federal government stepped in. "A vaccine mandate will inevitably push a significant portion of healthcare workers out of the industry," the letter warned. Some health providers are even punishing the spouses of employees who refuse to be vaccinated.
Such a shock could hardly hit the health care system at a worse time. "Several states are already nearing or exceeding hospital capacity," the letter added. "Many Medicare and Medicaid providers... are struggling to hire and retain enough employees to comply with state and federal staffing requirements." The Biden administration will force health care facilities from hospitals to nursing homes to fire staff while their resources remain stretched to the limit. Carter said forcing out health care workers makes no sense. "Six months ago, they were our heroes. Now they're running the risk of being fired. How much sense does that make?"
The Biden administration has been consistently implementing a "less is more" approach to dealing with nearly every crisis. Do hospitals need more resources? Fire unvaccinated staff. Do businesses need more workers? Fire unvaccinated employees. Do border agents need reinforcements against a human tsunami crossing the border? Pretend the problem doesn't exist. Do the human rights abuses of the Taliban deserve condemnation? Ask them to include women in their government. Does Congress lack leadership and direction? Provide none; condone cheap attacks. In solving crises like these, less is truly less.
Carter emphasized that the issue isn't about the vaccine, but about forcing it on people. "I'm a strong advocate for the vaccine," he said. "I went through the clinical trials myself." (Carter ran a pharmacy for 32 years and is a member of the GOP Doctors Caucus.) "But," he continued, "I am respectful of Americans who, for whatever reason, don't want to get the vaccine. I wish they would. I hope they do. It is safe and effective. But it's a decision between them and their physician."
That's more than can be said for the Biden administration, which has repeatedly shifted the goalposts on how many Americans must be vaccinated and when life can return to normal. Just this Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said it's "just too soon to tell" whether Christmas family gatherings can return to normal. Instead of answering obvious questions, like whether natural immunity is sufficient, which could persuade Americans on the fence to take the vaccine, the Biden administration is increasingly turning to mandates, without regard to their legality, to impose its will upon the American people. How could this strategy not backfire?