President Joe Biden’s speech on COVID vaccine mandates framed the fight against the disease as a war, but he made the battle between the vaccinated and the non-vaccinated instead of declaring the coronavirus that causes the disease as the enemy, former Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Newsmax Friday.
“I left a little bit disappointed that there wasn’t empathy for the people who are vaccine-hesitant,” Adams said on Newsmax’s “Wake Up America.” “There are people out there using this cultural war that has been created for political gain, no doubt, but there are people out there who are vaccine-hesitant minorities, or women who still have concerns (who) have been preyed upon by misinformation about fertility and sterility issues. I don’t like framing those people as the enemy.”
Biden on Thursday announced policies that will require most federal employees to get COVID-19 vaccines and to push employers of more than 100 employees to have their workers either vaccinated or tested weekly, among other new rules, and Adams, who served under former President Donald Trump, said he did like much of what Biden said.
“If I had to give him a grade on content, I would give him a B,” said Adams. “I would say that there was a lot in there that I liked. I liked that he talked about the fact that testing is just simply unavailable for too many Americans. I like the fact that he talked about giving people paid time off to get vaccinations because that’s a big barrier, so there was some good content in there.”
Earlier on Friday, the former surgeon general tweeted that Biden’s speech was “designed and delivered to leave you feeling angry if vaccinated, and ashamed if unvaccinated. It was a war speech, but the enemy wasn’t the virus — it was your neighbor. Problem is, many minorities, women, and children are in that group.”
Critics of Biden’s mandates say the orders take away individual freedom of choice, but Adams said he’s often told people that COVID-19 vaccines are about freedom.
“They will give us the freedom to stay open,” he said. “They will give us the freedom to enjoy our lives with something of normalcy. The majority of people hospitalized, youth right now, are unvaccinated. The vaccines work really well, protect you as an individual, and they also work somewhat well reasonably well to lower spread if we can get to herd immunity.”
However, Adams said that he doesn’t think Biden communicated that message in an “empathetic way,” but instead, he portrayed much of it politically.
He also said he thinks employers should be allowed to determine their own vaccine rules, rather than being mandated by the government, and he wishes Biden worked behind the scenes with employers to let them figure out how to implement mandates they believe appropriate.
Employers also have to pair their own mandates with “education, compassion, and empathy,” and explain that the rules are in place to keep the workplace open, and if that happens, “more people will come along” than with a plan that “just seems like ‘I know what’s best for you, so you better do it,'” Adams concluded.
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