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Vaccine Mandates Are Ineffective Policy, Even with Effective Vaccines

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Ted Jackson

Conservatives are put down and treated horribly by the mainstream media as if they are a bunch of conspiracy theory-loving right-wing lunatics.  However, the truth is that conservatives have been proven correct time and time again to oppose vaccine passports, mandates on private businesses and organizations, and other government issued edicts infringing on personal freedom. That former President Donald J. Trump jumped started the American vaccine production development and deployment that conservatives, by and large, have embraced, continues to bother the media. 


First of all, vaccine mandates are a terrible idea. Time and time again, Americans respond negatively to government requirements in the face of personal freedom.

Freedom loving Americans are not going to change behavior just because the government orders them to comply. Americans who voluntarily took any of the available Covid-19 vaccines made an informed, personal decisions to do so. It is important to cut through the disinformation coming from many in the media to paint conservatives as vaccine conspiracy theorists who worry about microchip implantation and being poisoned just because they had a logical reason to oppose government mandates.

Conservatives took the reasonable position that big government mandates would fail to change human behavior. At the same time, they largely embraced voluntarily taking the Covid-19 vaccines to prevent serious illness and death. People had reasonable reasons for not taking the vaccine - some had the virus earlier in the pandemic and developed a degree of natural immunity while others had health complications which prevented them from being vaccinated. Don’t believe the media hype that conservatives are an unreasonable bunch and a majority resisted taking a vaccine.

These mandates remain unpopular among voters including the Administration’s small business and government employee requirement which mandated employees either get the vaccine or subject themselves to repeated testing.  Luckily, the Courts have recognized the legal reasoning for these orders are dubious.  In response to these and other government overreaches, American truckers who joined their Canadian counterparts in protest. Truckers largely sit in their cabs and drive across country alone, therefore they are not at high risk of getting the virus.  Yet, the federal government still attempted to place a requirement as a condition of their employment. A great way to convince Americans that you are not acting in their best interest is to use the power and force of the government.


Vaccine passports are the penultimate slap in the face to Americans.  Carrying a card, or a picture of the card in their phone, proving they are vaccinated has done little to stop the pandemic. Some businesses have made it a condition of entering their establishment that customers provide a copy of vaccination status. State issued vaccine passports are way over the line and invade the privacy of all Americans – people have made a choice one way or another and that needs to be respected.

Second of all, President Donald J. Trump should be applauded for expediting the creation of Covid-19 vaccines and his support for people voluntarily taking them.

Operation Warp Speed is the greatest accomplishment of the Trump presidency. The Trump Administration helped spur private sector innovation to create a vaccine which has prevented many Americans from getting seriously ill and dying from the disease. Clearly, vaccines are not 100% effective and will not protect everybody, nor will they prevent everybody from getting the coronavirus, yet as rates continue to fall little credit is being given to the previous administration. President Trump told the Daily Wire in December 2021, “Look, the results of the vaccine are very good, and if you do get (Covid), it’s a very minor form. People aren’t dying when they take the vaccine.” The media fell all over themselves to find fault in even this perfectly reasonable statement by the former president.


Operation Warp Speed was a revolutionary idea and showed that in a time of crisis, the federal government can partner with private enterprise, even the demonized industry of pharmaceuticals, to respond to a public health emergency. The General Accounting Office (GAO) described the process in February of 2021 when they wrote, “Operation Warp Speed (OWS)—a partnership between the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Defense (DOD)—aimed to help accelerate the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.” It worked because the program accelerates the development of the vaccines while reducing the financial risk. The manufacturers were producing vaccines while the trials and testing occurring to ensure once proven effective – those vaccines would be available to the public as quickly as possible. President Trump deserves praise for his work on getting vaccines out the door quickly, and safely.

The bottom line is that mandates are not good policy and conservatives largely embraced and supported the vaccines which resulted from Operation Warp Speed, even though the media mischaracterizes conservatives as a bunch of political monsters and conspiracy theorists.

Peter Mihalick is former legislative director and counsel to former Reps. Barbara Comstock, Virginia Republican, and Rodney Blum, Iowa Republican.

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