Students weigh in on Gov. Ivey opposition to Biden’s vaccine mandate

Darian Howell, Staff Reporter/Writer

Shortly after U.S. President Joseph Biden issued his federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey clearly opposed the mandate.

Biden believes the mandate, which would make businesses with 100 or more employees require their staff to get vaccinated or face regular testing by Jan. 4, will cover about two-thirds of all U.S. workers and hasten the end of the coronavirus pandemic. The White House says legal precedent gives it the authority to respond to the “grave danger” posed by the pandemic.

Ivey, in return, signed into law a bill prohibiting employers from firing employees who refuse a COVID-19 vaccination if those employees claim a medical or religious exemption.  She signed another bill requiring parental consent for minors, age 18 and under, to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, an exception to the state law that allows minors 14 and older to consent to medical treatments.  The Alabama Legislature passed both bills, with the Republican majority passing them over opposition from Democrats.

Ivey previously said she believed that courts, not legislation, were the best way to challenge President Biden’s mandate. Today, she said the state legislation was part of that effort.

“Last week, when I issued my executive order to fight the overreaching Biden vaccine mandates, I reiterated that as long as I am your governor, the state of Alabama will not force anyone to take the COVID-19 vaccine,” Ivey said. “From the moment the White House rolled out their scare tactic plans to try to force this vaccine on Americans, I called it for what it is: an un-American, outrageous overreach. Alabamians – including those like myself who are pro-vaccine – are adamantly against this weaponization of the federal government, which is why we simply must fight this any way we know how. That is exactly why I have signed Senate Bills 9 and 15 into law. This is another step in the fight, but we are not done yet.”

After speaking with several different students regarding the mandate, students expressed various opinions.  

“I think everybody is entitled to their own opinion when it comes to the vaccine,” said Jonna Blackmon. “I honestly think that challenging the president is a big deal. I know that President Biden must consider the health of everyone. I have to side with him on this because he is going to make the best decision for the people.” 

Blackmon was not the only one to agree with Biden.  Brandon Hill has similar thoughts.  

“I took the vaccine, and I must say, in the beginning, I was hesitant, but I feel fine, and I agree with President Joe Biden because the more people are vaccinated, the faster things will slowly go back to normal,” Hill said.  “Even though it does not guarantee that you won’t get the virus, at least you know it will not be so severe.” 

However, there were a few students who felt that the governor’s view was more practical.

Christian Smith does not agree with the vaccine mandate, but he respects Biden’s decision to do something to help the people so it would not worsen. 

“I disagree with President Joe Biden because the vaccine is still not a definite cure. I understand the reason why he is adamant about distributing the vaccines out due to his position as President because not doing anything about it would look bad on his part. If I had to choose, it would be Governor Kay Ivey. I do respect our president for stepping to the plate to attempt to help everyone, but I feel there must be another way to go about it than making people take the vaccine.” 

Arianna Cobb and Ty’Kenya Reid agreed. 

“I feel that people should not be forced to take the vaccine, so I would have to side with Governor Kay Ivey on this,” Cobb said.

“Governor Kay Ivey challenging him was a good challenge because she is considering other people’s opinions when it comes to the vaccine,” Reid said. “It was fine when they had the mask mandate because you can take that on and off. I feel the vaccine mandate has gone too far because you can not take the vaccine on and off.”