Trump implies opposition to feds mandating COVID vaccination as some states move in that direction

Laura Ingraham raised the issue of whether or not a COVID-19 vaccine would be mandated by the federal government when she interviewed President Trump on her Fox News Channel program on Monday.  The topic first came to the fore last spring, as I wrote at American Thinker on May 16, 2020:

[D]uring the past two days ... President Trump has engaged the military in a project called Operation Warp Speed to fast track a COVID-19 vaccine. ... President Trump's promise of a vaccine. ... implies words like mandate, monitoring, and immunity passports.

Recently, government officials have taken pains to reassure the public that a potential COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandated by the government.  On August 19, MedicalXpress quoted the leading official of the White House Coronavirus Task Force:

Anthony Fauci, the United States' top infectious diseases official, said Wednesday the government wouldn't make any future COVID-19 vaccine obligatory for the general public — though local jurisdictions could make it mandatory for some groups, like children.

"You don't want to mandate and try and force anyone to take a vaccine. We've never done that," said Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, during a video talk organized by George Washington University.

"You can mandate for certain groups of people like health workers, but for the general population you can't" he added, citing the example of the National Institutes of Health, where health workers can't treat patients without a flu shot.


President Trump interviewed by Laura Ingraham on August 31.
Screen shot of Fox News video.

On her Fox News Program The Ingraham Angle yesterday, Laura Ingraham put the question directly to the president (transcript provided by Fox News Media Relations):

INGRAHAM:  On the flu vaccines in Massachusetts, they're mandating that children get flu vaccines in order to go back to school. There's a controversy about that, a lot of parents are like, whoa, we — you know — we don't — we don't want our kids to get the flu vaccine.

Are you worried that on the push for vaccines, these fast vaccines for COVID, you might be splitting a coalition of Americans, frankly in both parties, who aren't — aren't comfortable with these vaccines?

TRUMP:  Well, once you get to a certain number, you know, we use the word herd, right, once you get to a certain number, it's going to go away. So — you know — it doesn't have to be, but yes, I mean, a lot of people are not going to want to do it. A lot of people don't want to do the flu vaccine.

INGRAHAM:  Should it be mandatory?

TRUMP:  You know, I never had the flu, but I never had a shot. I never had the vaccine. I come here, the first thing, sir, you have to have a flu shot. I said, why? Because you have to have it. I say, what's the percentage? And I wasn't thrilled with the percentage — you know — it's like 50 percent, 55 percent —

INGRAHAM:  Oh, but Dr. Fauci said, it might not give, quote, "Great protection," because it's a coronavirus.

TRUMP:  Well, I said, look if I've never had it, wouldn't it be good — and then I thought I should have it because I'll set an example. So, I had it. So, I've had it now three times, but — and I still haven't had the flu. So, maybe I'll give credit to the flu vaccine, I don't know.

I can say this —

INGRAHAM:  You — if you —

TRUMP:  — you'll — I think we're going to have a vaccine very soon. A lot of tremendous work has been done. You can have a vaccine just like we have therapeutics, which to me are even more important, you go into the hospital, you make people better. That's, to me, the most.

But — and we just did the convalescent plasma. I think — and you have other things, too. So, I think we're going to have a lot of therapeutics, and we're going to have a vaccine very soon.

As to whether or not people take it —

INGRAHAM:  Well, 35 percent people say they're not going to take the COVID vaccine, they don't want it. They shouldn't be mandatory then, should it?

TRUMP:  But, if you add 35 to the people that have had it and to all of the other things, you know, people that have had it, where in theory you can't get it, although they found one person and they're making a big deal — one person got it twice — but if you add it all up it — it gives you very good protection.

In a close reading of President Trump's comments, he appears to imply if not to declare outright that a vaccine will not be mandated.  Ingraham's Fox News program tonight (10 P.M. EDT) will present the second part of her interview with President Trump.

Meanwhile, as Ingraham noted in her opening question on the subject, several states are moving forward with requirements that vaccines, including for COVID-19, the seasonal flu, and in at least one case for all other conditions, be mandated.

On August 21, in an interview with WRIC Channel 8 in Richmond, Va., Virginia's health commissioner, Dr. Norman Oliver, said "he plans to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for Virginians once one is made available to the public."  Several days later, the state's Democrat governor, Ralph "Blackface" Northam, told WRIC that "he's not planning on mandating a COVID-19 vaccine in Virginia, even though his Administration's top health official supports the idea."  However, according to WRIC, the issue seemed to be left hanging:

Gov. Northam's spokesperson Alena Yarmosky ... didn't immediately respond to a follow-up question clarifying if the Administration is ruling out the possibility of a vaccine requirement entirely, even in the case that herd immunity cannot be achieved through voluntary compliance.

Adding further uncertainty to the subject is a report from WTOP news radio in Washington, D.C. which noted on August 26 that "[a] committee in Virginia's legislature has halted legislation that would create exceptions for people who don't want to get a COVID-19 vaccine[.] ... [T]he proposal was defeated in the House of Delegates' Democratically controlled Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee."

Farther north in The People's Republic of Massachusetts, meanwhile, WRKO talk show host Jeffrey T. Kuhner writes in his column published on August 28 at iheart dot com:

Massachusetts is taking a big step toward liberal fascism. Gov. Charlie Baker [a RINO] and his administration seek to compel every student to take a flu vaccine — whether they or their parents want to or not.

The state Department of Public Health has recently said that all students attending school — public, private or parochial — will be mandated to take a flu vaccine prior to Dec. 31, 2020. If they don't, then they will not be allowed to go to school.

The order covers the ages of children as young as 6 months up to adults who are 30-years-old. It applies to kids in child care, pre-school, kindergarten, K-12 elementary and secondary education, as well as college students and even university graduate programs. The only exemptions are for medical or religious reasons.

Massachusetts's Governor Baker has yet to comment on whether or not his state will add a mandate for a future COVID-19 vaccine when it, or they, becomes available.

Finally, in perhaps the most draconian recent proposal of all, a story on August 25 at LifeSiteNews was headlined:

Texas mandates vaccines for all kids in public school, even if learning online

Children taking all their classes online and not entering school premises at all are nonetheless required to receive all the vaccines the state demands.

It appears that pro-vaccine officials in government are taking full advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to push hard to compel vaccinations of every stripe.

Despite the fact that many children will be "in" school only virtually, receiving instruction via computer in their homes, the Texas Department of State Health Services has chosen not to relax its student vaccine requirements for the upcoming school year.

To be at a school or simply to be part of the education curriculum online, proof of immunization will be required.

More importantly to a growing number of parents in the Lone Star State, the right to exemption due to conscience — religious or otherwise — from mandatory vaccinations for schoolchildren is seen as under threat amid the ongoing heavy-handed pandemic strictures.

"While there is a state law that allows students to attend school without all required vaccinations, this law also gives state and local health authorities during times of emergency or pandemic the authority to exclude students from school who have not been vaccinated," warns a notice from Texans for Vaccine Choice.

Recent polls have found that about one third of American adults say they will not take a COVID-19 vaccine.  On August 7, for example, Gallup reported the results of its polling on the subject: "35% of Americans would not get free, FDA-approved [COVID-19] vaccine if ready today."


Anti–mandatory flu vaccine demonstration outside the State House in Boston on August 30.
Screen shot from YouTube Ruptly.tv video.

Demonstrations opposing mandated vaccines in the era of COVID-19 have already started.  Yesterday, Citizen Free Press highlighted a story and a video at YouTube about one of them in Boston:

Earlier today [August 30], hundreds of parents with children gathered near the State House in Boston to protest mandatory flu vaccine shots ordered by Governor Charlie Baker. The order is for all students under the age of 30, aiming to lift the burden on the central healthcare system during the Covid scare. Parents could be seen holding banners reading 'My Child My Choice', 'Repeal Flu Mandate' and 'This is Massachusetts, not communist China.'

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications.  He also appears in the media, including recently as a contributor to BBC World News.  Peter's website is http://peter.media.  His YouTube channel is here.  For updates on his work, follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.