FIRST ON FOX: Republican attorneys general (AGs) from 24 states are threatening to take legal action against President Biden's coronavirus vaccine requirement.
The president announced last week that his administration will require employers with more than 100 workers to mandate coronavirus vaccinations among their employees or conduct weekly COVID-19 tests in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
"The vaccines have helped protect millions of Americans, and there are surely others who could benefit from obtaining this treatment," the AGs write in a letter to Biden exclusively reviewed by Fox News Thursday. "But convincing those who are hesitant to do so would require you to allow room for discussion and disagreement."
"Instead, you have offered the American people flimsy legal arguments, contradictory statements, and threatening directives. It is almost as if your goal is to sow division and distrust, rather than promote unity and the public’s health."
A health worker administers a dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at the Grand Yesha Ballroom in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
In the letter, they call the mandate "disastrous and counterproductive," saying that the rule "will simply drive further skepticism" about the vaccine and prompt "at least some Americans" to "leave the job market instead of complying."
Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) Chairman South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a press release announcing the multistate letter, "We will not tolerate Biden's tyrannical rule. The lines are clear, this is Joe Biden's unlawful agenda versus the American people. We will win this fight and protect the foundational principles that make our country great."
The AGs pledge to "seek every available legal option to hold [Biden] accountable and uphold the rule of law."
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The AGs argue that employees who leave their jobs as a result of the requirement will put added strain on "an already-too-tight labor market, burdening companies and (therefore) threatening the jobs of even those who have received a vaccine."
"Worse still, many of those who decide to leave their jobs rather than follow your directive will be essential healthcare workers," they write, citing a New York Times report about an upstate New York hospital that decided to stop delivering babies after six labor and delivery nurses resigned over the state's vaccine mandate.
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Hospitals across the country are simultaneously facing staffing shortages and full ICU capacity due to increasing COVID-19 cases, leaving staff overwhelmed.
The attorneys general also argue that Biden's mandate will add to vaccine skepticism, saying the order "suggests that the vaccinated need protection from those who, for whatever personal reason, choose not to or cannot receive a COVID-19 shot" and "fails to recognize natural immunity."
A healthcare worker strokes the forehead of a COVID-19 patient in a field hospital set up inside the Citibanamex convention center in Mexico City, on the first year anniversary that the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)
There are currently more than 90,000 people hospitalized with the virus across the country, and there are 1,262 new COVID-19 deaths being reported every day over the last seven days — a 10% increase compared to the last calendar week.
The Republicans conclude that "broadly mandating vaccinations (or weekly COVID-19 testing) for 80 million Americans, simply because they work at a business of a certain size, hardly seems ‘necessary' to meet any such danger," adding that there are other ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 besides requiring vaccines for businesses of a certain size.
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The attorneys general of states with the lowest vaccination rates including West Virginia, Wyoming, Idaho, Alabama and Mississippi all signed the letter.
More than half of the entire U.S. population have received both vaccine doses, while more than 60% have received at least the first dose.
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In June, 99.5% of all COVID-19 deaths were of unvaccinated people. There have been a total of 14,115 U.S. deaths as a result of breakthrough cases, or COVID-19 cases that occurred in vaccinated individuals, and 70% of those vaccinated individuals were older than 65. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that no COVID-19 vaccine is 100% effective against the virus.
The CDC has also reported two serious yet rare side effects of the vaccine, anaphylaxis, which can be treated immediately, and thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), which occurred in seven out of 1 million women under 50 who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.