Tennessee lawmakers react to President Biden’s vaccine mandate

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – President Joe Biden will mandate around 100 million Americans to be vaccinated in an effort to combat the dire rise in the COVID-19 crisis.

The new rule from President Joe Biden’s administration requires all employers with more than 100 workers to have all employees vaccinated or tested weekly — which is about 80 million Americans.

The plan also requires 17 million healthcare workers at facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid to be vaccinated.

Federal contractors will also be required to vaccinate in order to do business with the federal government.

“I was encouraged, we need to beat this pandemic it’s taken too many of our friends and neighbors,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis).

The Memphis Representative said he welcomes the action from President Biden.

“I’m sure there will be people that challenge it I feel sure that judges will say that the president is acting within his authority — it’s been done before there is precedent and the president has that authority and it’s his job,” Cohen added.

However, Republican Representative Scott DesJarlais says Biden is overstepping his authority, releasing a statement in part saying:

“This is an egregious government overreach. Every American should have the opportunity to consult with their doctor to determine if the COVID-19 vaccine is the best choice for their personal health.“

The far-reaching rule requires large companies to comply with the mandate and weekly testing for the unvaccinated or face a fine of $14,000 per violation.

Companies must also provide paid time off for employees to be vaccinated.

As of Friday, just under 43% of the state is fully vaccinated, with nearly 51% of Tennesseans having at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

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