One of the best arguments against Biden’s plan is that it’s unfair to people who, through prior infection, have developed natural immunity to the virus. McCarthy estimates that 40 million Americans are in this category. But by his own calculation, that leaves another 50 million who have been neither vaccinated nor infected. Furthermore, studies show that vaccination boosts immunity even in people who were previously infected. But the central problem with accepting natural immunity as an alternative to vaccination is that the immunity would have to be verified. That would require an antibody test or access to the employee’s medical records, both of which Republicans oppose. At a press conference in Florida on Tuesday, DeSantis and other critics of Biden’s plan accused the president of ignoring natural immunity, yet they vowed to tighten COVID privacy rules because “your medical health records are your business, not the government’s.”
Another common refrain among Republicans is that if unvaccinated people lose their jobs, their children will suffer. J.D. Vance, the Trumpist author who’s running for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, says vaccine refusers won’t be able to feed their families. But McCarthy, Abbott, and other Republicans say just the opposite: that mandates will hurt employers because jobs are so abundant that vaccine refusers will just quit and easily find other work. At the press conference in Florida, DeSantis accused Biden of threatening people’s livelihoods, but other speakers said the mandate would fail because workers who opposed vaccination already had other job offers.
Despite their outcry over mandatory vaccinations for COVID, Republicans express no objections to vaccine mandates for other diseases, such as polio, measles, and hepatitis.