New Hampshire’s economy would be adversely impacted by President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, a panel ruled.
The Legislature’s Committee to Examine Policy on Medical Interventions and Immunizations released a report detailing the burden requiring private employers, health care workers, and federal contracts to get the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment.
Under President Biden’s mandate, private companies with more than 100 employees must require their team members to get vaccinated or else pay significant fines. Approximately 84 million workers are subject to the regulation overseen by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which goes into effect on Jan. 4.
Companies will have to track each employee’s vaccination status, require unvaccinated workers to wear masks and ensure they get tested each week, per CNBC.
Federal workers also have until Jan. 4 to get vaccinated following Biden’s July mandate. Additionally, Biden made employee vaccination status a contingent for the more than 76,000 healthcare facilities that receive federal funding.
The state’s current workforce shortage and supply chain issues would increase, the panel says, and further damage the lives of state residents.
“The worker shortage is impacting all sectors of the New Hampshire economy ranging from first responders to health care, to manufacturing, to retail and hospitality,” the panel wrote in the report. “Worker shortages undermine public safety, worsen the supply chain issues gripping our state and nation and will cause accelerating inflationary pressures impacting Americans in all walks of life.”
The panel said that both public and private employers should be required to offer “flexible medical, religious, and conscientious objector” exemptions from vaccine mandate, regardless of their state or federal origin. Additionally, the panel said that any exemption request should be honored by employers.
The panel members wrote, “To prevent potential ethical violation quagmire for healthcare workers providing vaccination to people who consent under financial or psychological duress like threats to discontinue employment, we encourage the Legislature to move quickly to enact legislation to provide a blocking mechanism for the people and for businesses against the federal mandates and rules that create de facto mandates.”
New Hampshire is one of many states pushing back against the federal vaccine mandate. Lawsuits were filed in two different Circuit Courts of Appeals by 18 states on Nov. 5 challenging the legality of the mandate.
State residents are almost evenly divided on the issue. A poll from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center found 48% of the population strongly support Biden’s mandate while 45% were strongly opposed. The poll also found 94% of the state’s Democrats were in favor of the mandate and 90% of Republicans were opposed.