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Letter to President Biden on Vaccine Mandate

 

September 10, 2021


The Honorable Joseph R. Biden Jr.

President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530-0001


Dear Mr. President,


We write you to express our disappointment with your recent Executive Order mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all federal employees. As an organization, we do not question the safety or efficacy of the existing vaccines. Rather, we object to your choice to use your absolute authority as President to impose a mandate of this scope without active engagement and collaborative dialogue with the federal workforce. We object to the lack of consideration given to the need to explicitly include in the Executive Order reasonable accommodations for those federal employees who may be unable to take the vaccine for health or other reasons. And most of all, we object to compounding the concerns and worries that many of our members have faced throughout this pandemic period by threatening their very jobs and livelihoods. Had you solicited it, we would have told you that such a drastic shift in policy at this juncture was ill advised. Yet such advice was never solicited by the Administration.


While we encourage all Americans who can be vaccinated to do so, we support choice rather than coercion. The July Executive Order offered that choice. FLEOA had concerns about how that order would be implemented but appreciated that the option to choose testing or vaccination balanced the needs of the government with the views of most employees and American citizens.


Since the vaccine is new, there is still not much information available on its long-term effects. Hesitancies remain for many Americans regarding the potential long-term effects of the vaccine, the effectiveness for those with weakened immune systems, and the amount of protection provided for those who have already contracted COVID-19. While many unknowns surround the vaccine and the illness generally, a blanket mandate ignores the very reasonable fears and questions people have.


We are also concerned that despite the EEOC directive allowing for accommodations for employee who qualify, your recent Executive Order thwarts individuals that would otherwise meet the EEOC definition for seeking an accommodation.


With so much unknown and so many evolving situations surrounding the pandemic, the federal government should remain flexible to meet the needs and concerns of all employees.

 

Today, 75 percent of American adults having voluntarily received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which means voluntary initiatives aimed at making more Americans comfortable with obtaining the vaccine are working. A mandate at this time only undermines these voluntary vaccination efforts and reduces public comfort in getting vaccinated.


We ask that you amend your Executive Order to clarify the allowance of reasonable accommodations. We call for your administration to leave medical choices in the hands of individual Americans and their medical professionals, not their employer. Voluntary vaccination builds confidence in the science and relies on education to drive vaccinations. This is more effective, equitable, and American than coercion and force.

 

 

Sincerely,


Larry Cosme

National President

Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association