Healthcare

Arkansas governor backs employer vaccine mandates

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Sunday defended employers mandating that employees get a COVID-19 vaccine, while saying he opposed such mandates by the federal and state governments.

"The states are sometimes coming in and saying, 'Employers should not have the ability to impose a vaccine requirement on their workers.' To me, that's the wrong direction as well. It's not practical in terms of creating that debate, but it's not principled either," Hutchinson said during "Meet the Press" on NBC.

"I am a defender of the employer's right to provide a healthy workplace. You would have just as many workers say, 'I don't want to work there because it's not a healthy workplace, because not everybody's going to be vaccinated.' The employers are in a tough position. They would have the prerogative to make those decisions and I support that," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson noted, however, that he did not believe that governments at the federal and state level should be involved in making the request for individuals to get vaccinated.

"Let me make it clear that when I say I don't believe we ought to be engaging in mandates, I'm speaking of the government mandates, whether it's a federal government mandate or a state government mandate," Hutchinson said.

President Biden last month announced that a rule issued through the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration would mandate private companies with at least 100 workers require their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing. That rule has not yet been formally issued.

That led Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to issue an executive order prohibiting entities from enforcing a vaccinate mandate.

President Biden's chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci on Sunday called Abbott's ban "unfortunate" adding that "we know how effective vaccines are in preventing not only illness for the individual, but for the diminishing the dynamics of the infection in society."

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