SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Senator Mike Lee has continued to oppose President Biden’s vaccine tenure in the Senate. For the 13th consecutive day, Lee spoke out against any measure providing funding for the immunization mandate.
Lee accused Biden of making the job “more difficult and less attractive” and “less and less possible.” He also called the presidential vaccine mandate “unconstitutional” and “sweeping”, accusing the mandates of forcing workers to quit their jobs or re-enter the workforce.
In an article for the University of Miami Law Journal, Junior editor Ally Chamberlin said states have the right to issue a vaccine warrant, citing Supreme Court cases from Jacobson v. Massachusetts and Zutch vs. King, where it was decided that states and local health agencies could issue mandatory vaccinations.
At the federal level, Chamberlin said mandates can get a bit tricky. However, she said there are ways the federal government can use to constitutionally mandate a vaccine.
In October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on workplace vaccination, saying “an employer can require their employees to be vaccinated.” Regarding immunization status inquiries, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that The HIPPA rules do not apply to employers or employee records.
“If an employer asks an employee to provide proof that they have been vaccinated, it is not a violation of HIPAA law, and employees can choose to provide this information to their employer. ” HHS report says. HIPPA is only covered for specific organizations, primarily healthcare providers, healthcare plans, and healthcare clearinghouses.
Despite these reports, Lee says he heard 300 of his constituents say they are on the verge of losing their jobs because of the warrants. He also said other voters had other objections to the vaccination, such as religious and moral objections.
The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake issued a statement of Bishop Oscar Solis on August 20 saying the church would not issue religious exemptions to get vaccinated. The statement also says getting the vaccine is in line with church teachings.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also denies its members a religious exemption from vaccination, say in the church manual, “Vaccines administered by skilled health professionals protect health and preserve life. Church members are encouraged to protect themselves, their children, and their communities through immunization. “
Still, Lee said people fear the vaccine warrants won’t allow them to keep their businesses open. He said of one company that it was not against encouraging its employees to get vaccinated, but simply that forcing a vaccine would hurt its business.
“They know that part of their workforce would resign if the mandate were implemented,” Lee said. According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, the unemployment rate in the state in August is 2.6%, which is lower than the national average of 5.2%. Job growth in Utah since 2019 has increased 3.8% from the national average which actually fell -2.8%.
Lee made it clear that he was not against the vaccine, but only against the warrant.
“These vaccines are helping countless people avoid the harms associated with COVID-19,” he said. However, he said the warrants were hurting the economy.