Georgia officials continued to push back Wednesday against President Joe Biden’s administration’s federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate on federal contractors, subcontractors and employees.
Gov. Brian Kemp said vaccine hesitancy has shown to be more prevalent when there are mandates. He believes the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate will invade privacy, hurt businesses and jeopardize jobs.
“In Georgia, this mandate could affect thousands of people,” Kemp said Wednesday during a news conference. “The Biden administration is now forcing hardworking Georgians to choose between their livelihoods and a vaccine.”
Georgia leads a lawsuit with Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia against Biden and his administration. The lawsuit asks a judge to block Biden’s vaccination mandate for federal contractors, subcontractors and employees from taking effect. The lawsuit alleges the mandate is an overreach of power by the administration and violates the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act, which dictates how federal agencies can develop and issue regulations.
Biden released a six-pronged plan in September to respond to the delta variant of COVID-19 that calls for increasing vaccination numbers and testing, enacting mask and vaccine mandates, mobilizing booster shots and antibody treatments, and providing more aid to businesses. It directs federal contractors to require employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8. Federal workers must be fully vaccinated under Biden’s directive by Nov. 22.
Kemp was joined Wednesday by Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. The state officials said the mandates could create several issues for the state. Workers across the country have staged walkouts and protests against vaccination mandates. Kemp said it could stall university research and military projects. Black said he is concerned it could limit the state’s food supply.
Black wants the federal government to ensure the vaccination mandate does not affect food inspections. He also is concerned it could harm local farmers who have contracts with the federal government for their products.
“Georgia wants their meat inspected. I think Georgians expect for their food to be safe, but in order to do so, we must have the proper team on the field every day to protect our citizens,” Black said. “That is in jeopardy. These are some looming issues that could be become a p