STATELINE ARTICLE February 23, 2021
Lawmakers in at least 23 states, often encouraged by vaccine skeptics, have proposed banning employers from requiring workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or other infectious diseases. Most bills are sponsored by Republicans, who say employees shouldn’t have to choose between getting a shot and staying employed.
“I just kind of like the idea of personal freedom, and that’s one of my biggest things as a legislator,” said Republican state Sen. Dennis Kruse, who sponsored one such bill in Indiana.
Although vaccines protect individuals and communities from disease outbreaks, online disinformation has turbocharged some people’s concerns about vaccine safety and potential mandates in recent years. Some anti-vaccine activists have spread false information about the science and public policy surrounding immunizations.
Yet despite lobbying from anti-vaccine groups, often known as anti-vaxxers, the employer mandate bills are unlikely to pass, experts say. That’s because the proposals threaten employers’ legal obligation to maintain a safe workplace and could put the lives of workers, customers and patients at risk. Read more