From The Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — Alabama Governor Kay Ivey responded to U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive order mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all federal employees Thursday.
“Once again, President Biden has missed the mark. His outrageous, overreaching mandates will no doubt be challenged in the courts. Placing more burdens on both employers and employees during a pandemic with the rising inflation rates and lingering labor shortages is totally unacceptable,” Ivey said in a prepared statement. “Alabamians have stepped up by rolling up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 vaccine, increasing our doses administered significantly in recent weeks. We have done so without mandates from Washington D.C. or Montgomery. I’ve made it abundantly clear: I support the science and encourage folks taking the vaccine. However, I am absolutely against a government mandate on the vaccine, which is why I signed the vaccine passport ban into law here in Alabama. This is not the role of the government. I continue encouraging any Alabamian who can, to get the covid-19 vaccine. We have a safe and effective tool at our fingertips, so, let’s roll up our sleeves and get this thing beat …”
Alabama has just this week surpassed 50 percent of its population receiving the first dose of the vaccine.
With the Delta variant of the COVID-19 continuing to grow and lagging vaccination numbers, Biden’s executive order could affect more that 100 million people.
“The health and safety of the Federal workforce, and the health and safety of members of the public with whom they interact, are foundational to the efficiency of the civil service,” the order states. “I have determined that ensuring the health and safety of the Federal workforce and the efficiency of the civil service requires immediate action to protect the Federal workforce and individuals interacting with the Federal workforce. It is essential that Federal employees take all available steps to protect themselves and avoid spreading COVID-19 to their co-workers and members of the public. The CDC has found that the best way to do so is to be vaccinated.
“The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force), established by Executive Order 13991 of January 20, 2021 (Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing), has issued important guidance to protect the Federal workforce and individuals interacting with the Federal workforce. Agencies have also taken important actions, including in some cases requiring COVID-19 vaccination for members of their workforce.
Accordingly, building on these actions, and in light of the public health guidance regarding the most effective and necessary defenses against COVID-19, I have determined that to promote the health and safety of the Federal workforce and the efficiency of the civil service, it is necessary to require COVID-19 vaccination for all Federal employees, subject to such exceptions as required by law.”