INDIANAPOLIS — Two days after President Joe Biden announced his most sweeping COVID-19 vaccine requirements to date, there's mixed reaction, much of it falling along partisan lines. The new requirements include a vaccine mandate for all federal workers and contractors. Also, there's a requirement that large companies with 100 or more employees mandate vaccines or regular testing for employees.
While there will be legal challenges, public policy experts are weighing in; Dr. Peter Federman, an IUPUI professor whose work focuses on how the decisions of leaders impacts the public, is one of them.
"This is not something out of the ordinary," Dr. Federman said. "It is to my understanding that this is one of the first steps the federal government is taking in terms of what is within their ability to do around Covid in particular."
Mandating certain rules and around workplace safety is not new, Dr. Federman said. "It's one of the things the Department of Labor is assigned to do and it's well within the purview of what we've tasked the Executive Branch in doing."
Despite appearing to have the authority to issue this requirement, many Republicans are vowing to challenge it. At least 19 Republican governors have lashed back at Biden's promise to use OSHA to pressure employers with more than 100 employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or have workers submit to weekly testing.
The Republican governors called the mandate an overreach that will force Americans to choose between their job and the vaccine. That sentiment is how many Americans feel. Madison Dellamuth is one of them. WRTV talked to her while she was out in Fountain Square Friday night.
"Requiring companies, for their employees to get the vaccine, I'm not a huge fan of it," she said.
Dellamuth, who is vaccinated because it was required by her university, tells WRTV she understands the seriousness of COVID and how it impacts everyone so differently. However, she still doesn't think people should feel like they're being forced to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
"I'm for medical freedom. If you don't want to inject something into your body, you shouldn't have to," Dellamuth said.
However, as an expert in this area, Dr. Federman says it's well within the rights of the Executive Branch to set workplace safety guidelines which can include adding COVID-19 vaccines and testing requirement for employers.
"Issues of safety, they come up, they change and we adapt. Everyone is going to have to buckle down and figure out how we get to the next stage," Dr. Federman said.