Gov. Asa Hutchinson, R-Ark., on Sunday charged that federally mandated COVID-19 vaccinations “hardens the resistance” to them by those who are already hesitant.
In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,” Hutchinson lamented President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses and federal workers also divides the country.
“We have to overcome resistance,” he said.
“The problem is that I’m trying to overcome resistance, but the president’s actions in a mandate hardens the resistance,” he said. “ And we talked about the fact that we’ve historically had vaccination requirements in schools, but those have always come at the state level, never at the national level.”
Hutchinson added the mandate is “an unprecedented assumption of federal mandate authority that really disrupts and divides the country.”
“It divides our partnership between the federal government and the states, and it increases the division in terms of vaccination when we should all be together trying to increase the vaccination uptake,” Hutchinson said.
He said the states have not taken such drastic measures, “yet the federal government steps in.”
“This is something that every state has to make decisions on,” he asserted. “I support businesses being able to require vaccination, but it’s their own independent choice for their workplace, but to have a federal mandate will be counterproductive. It’s going to increase resistance.”
Hutchinson acknowledged his own state’s rate has gone up 40% “both because we were providing better information, bringing in trusted advisers to the public, but also because of the risk factor.”
“As the risk goes up, vaccinations increase,” he said. “That’s a little bit of human nature. It’s all about the trust factor. I try to build it by bringing in community respected leaders from the health care profession to talk to and get over some of the hesitation.”
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