A number of far-right elected officials have embraced the Republican party's constant disinformation regarding the pandemic that's killed over 600 thousand Americans.
Among them is South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. At the height of the pandemic, Noem refused to issue shelter-in-place orders to slow the spread. She's railed against mandatory masks in schools, even though many school-aged children are still ineligible for vaccination.
Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine months after clearing it for emergency use. This full approval paves the way for greater powers in the public and private sectors regarding vaccine mandates.
In line with the right's dangerous opposition to vaccines, despite their proven safety and effectiveness, Noem vowed to "protect" her constituents from vaccine mandates.
If @joebiden illegally mandates vaccines, I will take every action available under the law to protect South Dakotan… https://t.co/T5wImtqUs6— Governor Kristi Noem (@Governor Kristi Noem) 1629753122.0
Though the White House has repeatedly said there are no plans for a blanket federal vaccine mandate, Noem suggested that this was on the Biden Administration's agenda. Of course, vaccine mandates for other viruses have existed for decades, especially in public sectors, where students, service members, immigrants, and others are required to be inoculated.
Not only have institutions at the federal and municipal level announced sweeping mandates for certain occupations, but developments in the Supreme Court signal the body would uphold vaccine mandates as constitutional. The Court's most recently appointed conservative, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, recently upheld Indiana University's vaccine mandate for students.
People found the idea of Noem "protecting" her constituents by somehow requiring every American be vaccinated absurd.
South Dakota has seen a 312 percent increase in Covid cases the past two weeks and Republican Governor Kristi Noem… https://t.co/KbPzh2oQbu— Keith Boykin (@Keith Boykin) 1629761332.0
I wish someone could protect my family from Kristi Noem. https://t.co/kmtxrRqQ8K— Doug Dodson (@Doug Dodson) 1629807754.0
If you'd fight against COVID as hard as you fight against Democrats, your state wouldn't have had the largest 2 wee… https://t.co/TbTD81VOOd— Jax Persists (@Jax Persists) 1629828580.0
Kristi Noem has failed to protect #SouthDakota from #COVID19. She’s the reason my kids aren’t as safe as they shoul… https://t.co/NrLLkUTMjd— Doug Murano (@Doug Murano) 1629763207.0
The late George Washington, who mandated smallpox vaccinations, would like a word. https://t.co/igvWJEsAOV— Elizabeth Spiers (@Elizabeth Spiers) 1629770101.0
“South Dakota Codified Law 13-28-7.1 (Rev. 2016) requires that any pupil entering school…receive immunization again… https://t.co/QaXV7tBJXB— Chris Murphy (@Chris Murphy) 1629758313.0
Meanwhile, Conservatives chastised her for not going far enough.
But you are okay with employers in your state mandating them on workers? https://t.co/KEx82ikfWc— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@Harmeet K. Dhillon) 1629769672.0
He’s not using the federal government. He’s using corporations. If the GOP isn’t willing to MAKE law to protect t… https://t.co/VeMZ8C1CNr— Oilfield Rando (@Oilfield Rando) 1629755648.0
Again, vaccines are safe and effective at significantly reducing one's risk of joining the 600,000+ Americans who've succumbed to this virus.