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Alaska attorney general joins 23 other states in letter urging Biden to reconsider vaccine mandate

COVID-19 vaccines.
COVID-19 vaccines.(WRDW)
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 3:13 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska’s attorney general has joined 23 other mostly Republican states and signed on to a letter calling on President Joe Biden to reconsider his sweeping federal vaccine mandate.

The rules announced earlier this month require vaccines for most federal workers, and require that businesses with 100 or more employees require them to be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. The requirements could affect as many as 100 million Americans.

On Thursday, Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor signed a letter that’s also been signed by attorneys general in 23 other states that calls for Biden to reverse course. The letter calls the vaccine plan “disastrous and counterproductive.”

“From a policy perspective, this edict is unlikely to win hearts and minds,” the letter states.

The letter claims the mandate is illegal, and that mandating vaccines for private businesses is “overbroad and inexact.”

“Using a blunt tool such as OSHA’s emergency temporary standard provision to pass such an overreaching and arbitrary policy, on something as sensitive as a vaccine mandate is unreasonable as well as illegal,” Taylor said in a Thursday press release. “Due process must be provided for any policy that affects such a large swath of Americans, and it needs to be better tailored to the workplace issue being addressed. What if an employer has 100 employees that are all teleworking and the business next door has 99 employees all working in-person in close quarters? What is the rationale?”

Some Alaska lawmakers had similar reactions to the president’s order. Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, told Alaska’s News Source shortly after the policy announcement that he thought the order was “clearly” unconstitutional especially when it comes to the private sector.

“I think there’s a responsibility to take a stand. Does it end up in a courtroom? Perhaps,” he said at the time.

The letter Taylor signed onto Thursday warns that many could choose to leave their jobs rather than get vaccinated against COVID-19. When the mandate announcement was made, it included exceptions for workers seeking religious or medical exemptions.

The letter also says Biden’s policy “fails to recognize natural immunity.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that people who were infected with COVID-19 previously but remain unvaccinated are twice as likely to contract the virus again than people who get vaccinated. The data from an August study “indicate that COVID-19 vaccines offer better protection than natural immunity alone.”

The attorneys general who signed the letter wrote that, if Biden does not reconsider his order, they “will seek every available legal option to hold you accountable to uphold the rule of law.” Earlier this week, Arizona became the first state to independently sue Biden over the order.

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