New York Times reporter: Getting vaccinated is 'not a personal choice' during a pandemic

Media top headlines September 13

In media news today, an MSNBC historian uses 9/11 to campaign against Republicans, an LA Times columnist calls Larry Elder a ‘very real threat’ to communities of color, and the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler gets mocked for praising NYC’s vaccine mandate

New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg said getting vaccinated against COVID-19 was “not a personal choice” during a pandemic on Monday, saying that freedom ended due to her right to “not get killed” by an infectious disease.

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Stolberg knocked Republican governors who are fighting President Joe Biden’s mandate requiring all employers with more than 100 employees to be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.

“In an infectious disease outbreak, getting vaccinated is not a personal choice. It’s not. It’s something that we do for the community,” she said. “And this has been long upheld with legal precedent.”

Stolberg noted that the “mandate” had an out for businesses, as employees can opt for mandatory weekly testing if they still choose to not get vaccinated.

“In an infectious disease outbreak, your personal choice ends where my right not to get killed by an infectious disease begins,” she said. “We have these collective actions for the good of the community, not the individual.”

Biden invoked an emergency provision in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 with his order. Stolberg covers health policy for the Times, and she has reported Biden is on solid legal ground with the public health mandate. GOP governors have called Biden’s order unconstitutional and vowed to fight it tooth and nail in the courts.

“I am so disappointed,” Biden said over the weekend. “Particularly, some Republican governors have been so cavalier, with the health of these kids, so cavalier with the health of our communities.” 

Stolberg weathered some criticism for her rhetoric, with some pointing out the fact she was vaccinated already provided excellent protection against severe illness from the disease. The vast majority of those who are getting hospitalized due to coronavirus infections have not been vaccinated.

She added on Twitter that some of the governors battling Biden’s mandate preside over states with childhood vaccine requirements in their states. 

“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace pressed Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, R., on that issue Sunday.

“First of all, we have been encouraging people to get vaccinated. We’ve been providing information and encouraging people to reach out to their neighbors because vaccines work and they will help people,” Ricketts said Sunday. “But it should be a personal health care choice. This is not something that the government should mandate and somebody shouldn’t have to make the choice between keeping their job and getting a jab in the arm. I mean, it’s just wrong.”

Wallace noted Nebraska schools already require students to get vaccinated against illnesses such as measles, chicken pox, polio, and hepatitis B. Ricketts said those vaccines are different because they have a long history that parents are able to look at.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.

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