Thank you for your reply to my open letter email dated Sept 7, 2021. Your email below focused on the efficacy of past vaccines and a libertarian view that the State of Idaho should not insert itself into a contract between a private company and a private individual. In ordinary times I would be inclined to agree with you. However, we are now living in extraordinary times. On September 1st the CDC removed “immunity to a specific disease” from the definition of vaccination, and in the days since our email exchange the Biden administration has boldly inserted itself into the very contracts you are arguing the government should stay out of. I believe most Idahoans recognize the threat to our liberties this current administration represents and are looking to our state political leaders to fight for us. This fight for our individual liberty is on an entirely new battle field where the Leftist Biden administration uses private companies to launder its violations of our constitutional rights. You not wanting to involve state government based on libertarian principals might have had merit in the recent past, however, it now simply shows that you are not willing to step on the same battlefield this administration is fighting on.
In your email you said you believe “in general, I oppose the ability of a healthcare provider or any other employer to require their employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment”. I apologize if I was not specific enough, but I and most Idahoans are opposed to private employers mandating COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of their continued employment. We are asking you and Representative Bedke to reconvene the Idaho legislature and pass legislation to ban these private COVID-19 “vaccine” mandates in Idaho before it impacts the livelihoods of 1000s of Idahoans.
The COVID-19 vaccine is very different than previous vaccines. There is no doubt that previous vaccines such as those for polio and smallpox have had unparalleled benefits to public health. In fact, polio is on the cusp of being totally eradicated because of the polio vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is different because it does not create immunity like the vaccines of the past. Since the invention of vaccines, the definition has always included the words “prevention” of or “immunity” to specific disease. The CDC recognizes that the COVID-19 vaccine does not create immunity and instead of removing its classification as a vaccine, on Sept 1, 2021 they quietly changed the definition of vaccine to remove the word “immunity” and replace it with “protection”. You obviously are aware the vaccine does not create immunity since in your email you admitted that both vaccinated and unvaccinated can be infected with and spread the COVID-19 virus. Given all this I must ask you, if the COVID-19 “vaccine” does not create immunity, what is the public health rationale for any public or private entity mandating it?
In your email you argue that the State of Idaho should not involve itself in contracts between private companies and individual employees, arguing that:
“If a healthcare worker has been hired with the understanding that they would be vaccinated from time to time to protect themselves and to protect the health and wellbeing of their patients, then the employee has been notified of their conditions and requirements for employment.”
This statement indicates to me and I believe most Idahoans that you do not fully understand the current reality of what is happening in our country. By changing the definition of the words contractual language is based on and mandating vaccination under these new definitions, the federal government is undermining these employment contracts and violating our individual liberty. Any employee who signed an employment contract prior to September 1st had the reasonable expectation that a vaccine was required because it created immunity that prevented infection and spread of disease. They did not sign the contract under the new definition. Imagine the negative impact to future contracts caused by national agencies at any time changing the definitions of the words those contracts are based on. I would argue that by passing legislation banning COVID-19 vaccination mandates in Idaho, the Idaho legislature would not only be reinforcing these private employment contracts by not allowing the CDC to undermine the contractual language they are based on, but also be protecting the individual rights of Idahoans from unconstitutional national “vaccine” mandates.
Senator Winder, government’s first responsibility is to protect the rights of the individual. Your laissez-faire approach to these national violations of our liberty effectively shifts the Idaho legislature’s responsibility to protect the rights of Idahoans to the court system in the form of individual lawsuits between employees and the companies they work for. You will be making what is the duty of the Idaho legislature a burden of the very Idahoans who’s individual rights are being violated. Idaho courts ruling on private employment contracts is not the mechanism to defend the individual liberty of Idahoans, the legislature is.
What line must the Biden administration cross before you and Representative Bedke take action? If the State of Idaho and other states don’t act now, will Biden mandate COVID-19 “vaccinations” for airline travel and interstate travel? Will he deny medical care for the unvaccinated? Will he require vaccine passports and social credit scores, like China, in order for citizens to participate in society? The longer you and Representative Bedke wait to call the Idaho legislature into session and pass laws banning Biden’s national “vaccine” mandates, the more individual rights Idahoans will lose in the future. Please call the legislature back into session and pass legislation to ban COVID-19 “vaccine” mandates for public and private entities in Idaho. Don’t allow Idaho workers, including our frontline healthcare workers, and their livelihoods to become pawns in the Biden administration’s plan to centrally control our nation.
Senator Winder’s initial response to Gish’s first Open Letter Op-Ed:
Dear Concerned Citizen,
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your thoughts with me regarding the recent development by the three major healthcare providers in the Treasure Valley requiring their employees to be vaccinated or risk losing their jobs. I am aware that many of you have concerns for different reasons, but in general, you oppose the ability of a healthcare provider or any other employer to require their employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment.
I wish to share the following thoughts with you:
- When there are contractual reasons for employees to be vaccinated, he or she should comply with their existing contract. If a healthcare worker has been hired with the understanding that they would be vaccinated from time to time to protect themselves and to protect the health and wellbeing of their patients, then the employee has been notified of their conditions and requirements for employment. There are many healthcare providers and businesses that have required vaccinations for many decades. However, exemptions for medical, religious and for philosophical reasons should be an option for most employers.
- In a free society, the terms of employment are voluntary and because of the liability to an employer, he or she should be able to require vaccinations, if the contract to hire that person requires vaccinations for contagious diseases. This is not a new practice. It appears to have been going on for decades.
- To all those healthcare workers that have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, thank you. This group of healthcare workers represent approximately 85% to 90% of the workforce. However, I do support the remaining healthcare workers’ decision to not be vaccinated. Some have applied for and received religious and medical exemptions, yet there are some healthcare workers that have a philosophical objection to the vaccine. I believe they should be given the same exemption as someone seeking a religious exemption.
- Healthcare providers should allow broad exemptions while accommodating and protecting their employees and patients. How? By providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), requiring a waiver of liability should that employee become ill with COVID-19, and regular COVID-19 testing of employees. Regular testing should be required of both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. For example, a person with a religious exemption could still pick up the disease outside of the healthcare facility and unknowingly carry it back into the care facility. There was a recent outbreak of COVID-19 in a long-term healthcare facility in Mt. Home, where an unvaccinated healthcare worker infected six to eight patients. Also, a vaccinated employee could be carrying the virus and not even know it. So, there are very valid reasons for implementing additional safety measures to protect healthcare workers and patients.
- It should be no surprise to anyone vaccination policies impact other employees and employers besides healthcare workers. For example, Idaho has many small and large businesses that require their management and other employees to travel internationally. Entry into many foreign nations requires a person to show proof of vaccination. Those companies producing food related products have a heightened concern for health and safety reasons. If the Legislature were to prohibit requiring vaccinations, we could be restricting a business from conducting business in those foreign countries and we could be putting our food supply at risk. This would have a highly undesirable impact on the state’s high tech and agriculture economy.
To say the least, the issue we are confronted with is very complicated and full of pitfalls. The best way to avoid those pitfalls is to allow those businesses to manage their own needs. Such businesses should work with their employees to identify and hopefully resolve this issue before they get restricted by some half-baked idea of the Legislature.
Most people believe that the private sector will do a better job of managing their employees without interference from a group of well-intentioned legislators. It will be very difficult if not impossible to entirely outlaw requiring vaccinations because there are many employers that must have their employees vaccinated for health and safety reasons as well as for international travel.
As the world’s leading developed nation, we have overcome diphtheria, hepatitis A & B, measles, pneumonia, tetanus, polio, mumps and rubella, as well as many other life-threatening diseases because of man-made vaccines. I believe that if you want life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, get vaccinated, having said that, there are many that cannot medically handle vaccines. There are those that hold sincere heartfelt religious beliefs that prevent them from accepting vaccines, and there are those that hold strong heartfelt personal beliefs why they should not be vaccinated. I believe all three groups should be accommodated by their employers in the best manner possible.
However, when vaccination is part of an employment contract, the employee should be willing to be vaccinated, be reassigned, or find a different employer that does not require them to be vaccinated. ***
*** The views expressed herein are my own and should not be used to reflect the view or views of any other Senator or the Senate itself.
President Pro Tempore
Idaho State Senate
Tags: Chuck Winder, Covid-19, Joseph Gish, Vaccine Mandate