The Christian Medical & Dental Associations declared on Wednesday that they are opposed to President Joe Biden's recently mandated vaccine requirement for workers, even if they actually recommend getting the vaccine.
The group's senior vice president of bioethics and public policy, Jeffrey Barrows spoke out during the Family Research Council "Pray Vote Stand" special, in which the president's vaccine mandates were discussed.
"I think it's very difficult to make a good ethical argument for the mandate that President Biden has announced," Barrows said, as reported by the Christian Headlines. President Biden's vaccine mandates require federal workers and private employers with at least 100 employees to get vaccinated or subject themselves to weekly COVID testing.
CMDA is a coalition of upwards of 19,000 members. Barrows said that while his statements represented only his opinion, he noted that the group has also released a statement opposing President Biden's vaccine mandates.
"Anytime you are using a mandate, you are taking away the ability of the patient to give consent," Barrows argued. "In terms of justifying it, you have to have a clear and obvious good that is achieved that outweighs the removal of patient consent."
In theory, Barrows said that he could support a hospital requiring its medical staff who are "dealing with immunocompromised patients" to be vaccinated against COVID. However, he explained that the hospital can also "create alternatives that if one of the health care workers has an objection to the vaccine, they can be transferred to a different part of the hospital that is not dealing with high-risk patients."
Barrow posited that one can "make an ethical argument for mandates...in those very narrow settings." For a "very broad mandate," such as the Democratic president's however, "that's an entirely different scenario."
The CMDA statement declared, "Coerced vaccination would irreparably harm Constitutional rights and the patient-physician relationship," adding that one's conscience is an "individual belief influenced by many factors such as faith, culture, family, and reason" and that conscious rights must have "primary importance" and must be respected.
Barrows clarified, however, that he supports the vaccine, underscoring that "overall, the safety has been established" and that "[it] definitely is our recommendation that patients consider getting these vaccines."
Meanwhile, companies that fall under the 100-and-up employee count category are seeking out answers to questions left unanswered about President Biden's vaccine mandate, specifically how the costs of COVID testing for employees who refuse to get vaccinated will be covered, the Wall Street Journal reported. Companies that don't comply will be forced to pay upwards of $14,000 worth in fees.
Robin Samuel, an employment lawyer at law firm Baker & McKenzie LLP explained that the president's goal from the beginning was to "encourage vaccination." COVID testing is just "an out from vaccination," which is why the federal government may "make it more difficult for employers to choose the testing option."
But companies now have a fallback: they can argue that the federal government is making them require vaccines, because it's the law and they no longer have a choice.