As the so-called ‘vaccine passport’ begins to sound with more force in different environments with adherents and opponents to the measure, Republican and Democratic representatives also face the dilemma due to the completely different positions they hold, and that respond to their political ideology.
On the premise of a new wave of infections with the ‘delta’ strain, 19 Democratic representatives signed a letter asking Capitol Hill’s chief medical officer, Brian Monahan, to make vaccination mandatory for all staff or at least require them to test negative for infection twice a week, The Hill reported.
Dr. Mohanan has yet to reply.
The small group of Democrats argued that they do not want to be exposed to the virus and, in turn, bring the disease into their homes, where there are children who cannot be vaccinated or older adults more susceptible to serious consequences from the coronavirus.
Emanuel Cleaver, the Democrat leading the group of 20 representatives who signed the letter, said:
“We’re going to have something uglier happening if we don’t begin to consider each other’s health as we conduct the business of the nation. I don’t think that it’s asking too much that members who choose not to take the vaccine are tested, and that we know that everybody on the floor is COVID-free.”
While the Democrat assured that he “will stand up for the people’s right not to get the vaccine” if they so choose, he also added, “… I have a right not to be infected by my colleagues just because we work in the same place,” Cleaver said. “I owe it to my family not to bring something home that can kill. This could be a matter of life and death.”
Recent studies in Israel, a country that many are taking as an example to analyze the effects of vaccines, revealed that more than 90 percent of new positive cases occur in vaccinated people.
The data affirms that the vaccines have succeeded in reducing ‘severe’ hospitalizations but have not generated the desired immunity, particularly with the alleged new ‘delta’ strain.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi weighed in on the Republican-Democrat stand-off over mandatory vaccination and said that it’s a matter of timing for her.
“Now, in a matter of maybe days or weeks, the full approval will be given to the vaccines and that, I think, will make a difference in terms of what we can do,” Pelosi said Friday, Aug. 6, on Capitol Hill.
The Speaker is referring to the approval granted by the FDA, the food and drug regulatory agency since so far, the vaccines are authorized for emergency use only due to the lack of evidence of long-term effects.
The Biden administration has already made vaccination or periodic testing mandatory at the federal level in line with the White House, which has also begun requiring all visitors, and journalists, to show proof of vaccination or submit to the COVID-19 test.
The Republican ‘resistance’
For their part, Republicans in the House have come out against the use of masks and mandatory vaccination, citing the free will of each individual.
Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, said each lawmaker should decide how to handle it, rather than being subject to a broad mandate from above.
“We respect that this is a member-driven institution with long-standing precedent for employment policies being set by each office. Mandates only give more control and power to the Speaker,” Davis said.
Other high-profile Republicans such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have also adamantly opposed the use of facemasks or lockdowns as pandemic mitigation measures. They have even passed legislation to ban them in defiance of the federal government.
An extensive report published by the National Institutes of Health admits that facemasks are not effective in preventing contagion because the size of the virus is 1000 times smaller than conventional facemask fibers.
According to the data provided by the study, the virus has a size of 60 to 140 nanometers (one billion parts of a meter), and the spaces in the tissues of the masks have a diameter between 55 and 440 micrometers (one million parts of a meter).