Amid travel and supply-chain disruptions that have followed his announced vaccine mandate, President Biden said Thursday that requiring COVID-19 shots for employees of private companies should not divide the nation.
"Let's be clear. Vaccination requirements should not be another issue that divides us," the president said in televised remarks. "That's why we continue to battle the misinformation that's out there, and companies and communities are stepping up as well to combat the misinformation."
Biden, however, was well aware of the sharp difference of opinion over universal COVID-19 vaccination when he scolded "80 million people" who had decided that the risks of taking an experimental vaccine with documented adverse events, including death, that came to market at least five times faster than ever before outweighed the benefit of protection from a virus with an overall fatality rate as low as one-tenth of 1%.
The "misinformation," Biden said Thursday, included the claim that the massive disruption of Southwest Airlines flights that began last weekend was due to his vaccine mandate.
"Southwest Airlines, at the head of the pilot, at the head of the pilot's union, and its CEO, dismissed critics who claimed vaccination mandates contributed to flight disruptions," he said.
However, many Southwest pilots have confirmed that they called in sick in protest of the company's decision to abide by Biden's mandate, pointing out that their union cannot acknowledge a sickout, because it would be illegal.
Biden said "school board members, religious leaders and doctors across the country are fighting misinformation and educating people about the importance of vaccines."
"All of these efforts are going to help us continue to move the dial to eliminate this disease," he said.
But many doctors and scientists, who support vaccination in general, point to studies showing the superiority of natural immunity while arguing the COVID-19 vaccines pose greater risks to younger people and older people who are healthy than the disease itself. Three Nordic nations have halted the Moderna vaccine for younger people and another for all ages. An FDA panel last month, after the agency's two top vaccine officials resigned amid accusations of White House interference, voted 16-2 against Pfizer booster shots for people under 65, in part due to the increased risk of heart inflammation indicated by studies. Later, a CDC panel came to a similar conclusion but was overruled by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, who complied with the wishes of President Biden. A hidden-camera probe by Project Veritas found federal health workers were not reporting cases of adverse effects from COVID vaccines. Johns Hopkins professor Dr. Marty Makary has charged that the government's disregard of natural immunity has cost "thousands" of lives" and damaged the credibility of health officials.
Further, epidemiologists would take issue with Biden's claim that SARS-CoV-2 can be "eliminated," recalling that in the beginning, the objective of government mitigation efforts was to "slow the spread," not stop it. The general consensus among scientists is that COVID-19 is "here to stay," although it likely will pose less danger over time.
Biden said Tuesday he is "calling on more businesses to step up" and "parents to get their children vaccinated when they are eligible."
"I'm asking everyone — everyone who hasn't gotten vaccine, please get vaccinated, till we put this pandemic behind us and accelerate our economic recovery," he said.
Biden said there is "mounting data" indicating businesses that require vaccination of their employees are seeing vaccination rates "rise by an average of 20% or more to well over 90%."
Critics argue the president is not taking into account that, by itself, the elimination of unvaccinated employees drives up the percentage of a company's workforce that is vaccinated.
Biden also said the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon weigh in on vaccinating children between the ages of 5 and 11.
"We have purchased enough vaccines for all children between the ages of 5 and 11," Biden said. "It'll be convenient for parents to get their children vaccinated at trusted locations, and families will be able to sleep easier at night knowing their kids are protected as well."
Johns Hopkins' Makary opposes vaccinating children, argue the risk of death in that age group due to COVID-19 is virtually zero statistically.
See Biden's remarks on the vaccine mandate:
Joe Biden on vaccine mandates:
"Vaccination requirements should not be another issue that divides us." pic.twitter.com/uOzQPs9bmt
— The First (@TheFirstonTV) October 14, 2021
See Biden's full remarks:
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