At a CNN presidential town hall on Oct. 21, moderator Anderson Cooper asked Biden “should police officers, first responders be mandated to get vaccines? And if not, should they be mandated to stay at home, let go?”
“Yes, and yes,” Biden responded.
Biden’s executive order, announced Sept. 9, is set to require all federal workers, as well as workers at private businesses with 100 employees to get vaccinated against the virus or show a weekly negative test.
Some major cities are putting policies in place to require their police force to take the jab. Cooper noted at the town hall that as many as one in three emergency responders in some cities are refusing to comply.
The president went on to say he’s concerned about those who make vaccine mandates a political issue.
“Freedom,” Biden mocked. “I have the freedom to kill you with my COVID. No, I mean, come on, freedom.”
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden said he was opposed to vaccine mandates for COVID-19.
At the town hall, Biden also decried the “gross misinformation that’s out there” related to vaccine mandates.
Twenty-one officers with the Chicago Police Department have been placed on no-pay leave for refusing to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status, as required by a city mandate, according to Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown.
And New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced on Oct. 20 the city will require its municipal workforce to get the shot or go on unpaid leave.
Biden continues to claim his vaccine mandates are “working” as many companies and localities have put their own mandates in place ahead of the federal rule expected in the coming weeks.
On Oct. 12, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finalized the initial draft of the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) set to implement Biden’s order and sent it to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is conducting a review of the emergency standard, which OSHA is allowed to issue if it determines workers are in “grave danger.” The review process could take as long as 90 days.
Several Republican governors and attorneys general have vowed to fight the mandate in court. In an act of opposition, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued his own executive order banning Texas businesses from requiring vaccines for employees, or customers.