West Virginia urges Biden to reverse vaccine mandate

West Virginia Headlines
Joe Biden

President Joe Biden takes off his mask as he arrives to speak about the coronavirus pandemic in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. The U.S. has donated and shipped more than 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 60 countries, ranging from Afghanistan to Zambia, the White House announced Tuesday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey joined a 24-state letter Thursday in urging President Biden to reconsider an unlawful vaccine mandate that, if imposed, the letter’s authors vow to challenge in court.
 
The attorneys general acknowledge the COVID-19 vaccine has helped protect millions of Americans, however, they take issue with the President’s use of flimsy legal arguments, contradictory statements and threatening directives to force others to receive the vaccine.
 
The coalition’s letter, sent Thursday, contends that reducing vaccine hesitancy requires room for discussion and disagreement – not mandates that sow division and distrust, rather than promote unity and the public’s health.
 
The attorneys general write they will use every legal option to uphold the rule of law and hold President Biden accountable should his administration refuse to alter its course.
 
 “Your plan is disastrous and counterproductive,” Attorney General Morrisey joined in writing to President Biden. “From a policy perspective, this edict is unlikely to win hearts and minds—it will simply drive further skepticism.”
 
“Thus, Mr. President, your vaccination mandate represents not only a threat to individual liberty, but a public health disaster that will displace vulnerable workers and exacerbate a nationwide hospital staffing crisis, with severe consequences for all Americans,” he and fellow authors added.
 
The coalition argues President Biden’s mandate will force at least some Americans to leave the job market instead of complying, which will place further strain on an already-too-tight labor market. Worse, the attorneys general contend some of those leaving their posts will be essential healthcare workers.
 
The letter further argues the President’s mandate suggests the vaccinated need protection from those who, for whatever personal reason, choose not to or cannot receive the COVID-19 shot – the opposite message medical experts want to convey about the efficacy of vaccines.
 
Legally, the attorneys general contend President Biden’s mandate sidesteps Congress and reaches far beyond the intent of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). They argue OSHA was directed toward occupational safety involving dangers at work because of one’s work as opposed to dangers occurring in society generally, including at work.
 
The rarely used emergency standard relied upon by President Biden has been utilized just seven times since 1971 and just once since 1983. The most recent instance, earlier this summer, is being challenged, and five of the previous six uses were vacated or stayed to some degree.
 
West Virginia joined the South Carolina-led letter with Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

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