Alabama lawmakers offer thoughts on Biden vaccine mandate
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Maria Grenyo
Since COVID-19 hit the U.S., more than 40 million tested positive for the virus, nearly 3 million wound up in the hospital and more than 650,000 have died.
Last week, President Joe Biden announced his COVID-19 Action Plan, which includes a mandate requiring businesses with more than 100 employees to require vaccines or weekly COVID-19 tests, requiring vaccines for all federal workers and government contractors, require proof of vaccinations at large-scale events like concerts or sporting events, ensuring students and staff in public schools are vaccinated and tested for COVID-19 regularly and other mandates aimed at preventing the spread of the virus.
In addition, the plan offers more federal funding for hospitals, support for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and making at-home COVID-19 testing more affordable.
More than 80 million people in the U.S. who are eligible for a vaccine have not yet gotten one, and Biden’s plan is aimed at decreasing that number.
Lawmakers are largely split along party lines regarding the mandate.
State Sen. Bobby Singleton, who is a Democrat, said he supports the plan.
“Mandating a vaccination is nothing new in the state of Alabama or across the United States of America,” he said.
Meanwhile, Republican governors including Alabama’s Gov. Kay Ivey believe the plan is a major federal overreach. Ivey said she encourages Alabamians to get vaccinated, but cannot agree with a government mandate.
State Sen. Geral Allen, a Republican, sided with Ivey.
“I do think it’s a constitutional issue,” Allen said. “I do not think it’s an appropriate way to address an issue when you start mandating something for everyone.”