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Parson: Biden’s vaccine mandate is ‘unwelcome’ in Missouri

President Joe Biden’s announcement that all businesses with at least 100 employees must ensure everyone is vaccinated against COVID-19 or endure weekly testing is an “unwelcome” plan in Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday evening. 

Furthermore, the Republican chief executive said it was “potentially dangerous” for working families. 

“The Biden administration’s recent announcement seeking to dictate personal freedom and private business decisions is an insult to our American principles of individual liberty and free enterprise,” Parson said on social media. “This heavy-handed action by the federal government is unwelcome in our state and has potentially dangerous consequences for working families.”

“Vaccination protects us from serious illness, but the decision to get vaccinated is a private health care decision that should remain as such,” he continued. “My administration will always fight back against federal power grabs and government overreach that threatens to limit our freedoms.” 

Aside from the vaccination and testing requirements for larger companies, Biden also said all federal employees and contractors doing business with the federal government will need to be vaccinated — forgoing the weekly testing option. 

Additionally, the president said workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid money will need to be vaccinated. This will cover about 50,000 providers and a majority of health care workers in the U.S., according to the administration. 

Senate Majority Floor Leader Caleb Rowden also derided Biden’s move on social media, saying it was “one of the most egregious overreach attempts” from a president. Rowden called on the legislature to “take action to protection [Missourians] and [Missouri businesses ASAP.” 

When asked about a potential special session, a spokesperson for the governor said a confirmed decision had not yet been made.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri who has been adamantly pushing back against the Biden administration, said the latest mandate “will not stand in Missouri.” 

“We’re at a crossroads here in America — who we are and what we’re going to be. We must fight back,” Schmitt said on Twitter. 

Biden’s mandate directs the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop a rule requiring employers with at least 100 employees to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Unvaccinated workers would need to produce negative tests results on a weekly basis. 

Additionally, OSHA is developing a rule mandating employers give workers paid time off to get vaccinated or recover from post-vaccination. 

This mandate is expected to impact more than 80 million workers within private sector businesses, the administration said. 

Biden signed an executive order to require vaccines for federal executive branch employees as well as for people doing contract work with the federal government. 

The plan also asks large entertainment venues such as sports arenas or concert halls to require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests in order to enter. 

“While America is in a much better shape than it was seven months ago when I took office, I need to tell you a second fact: We’re in a tough stretch, and it could last for a while,” Biden said during a speech from the White House Thursday. 

He also decried elected officials who are “actively working to undermine the fight of COVID-19” by not encouraging people to get vaccinated and wear masks. 

In Missouri, 54 people have died in the past seven days from COVID-19 with nearly 10,000 positive cases identified during the last week. Less than 54 percent of Missourians who meet the age requirement for the vaccine are fully inoculated. Nearly 78 percent of Missourians who are over the age of 65 are fully vaccinated, according to data from the state. 

While the delta variant has continued to make the pandemic a real threat in the U.S., most of the hospitalizations and deaths have occurred among those who are not vaccinated. 

Nearly 2,000 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Missouri, including more than 560 in the ICU and 360 who are on ventilators.