Column: You go, Joe! Thank heavens the president is standing up for science, public health and vaccines

 President Biden  speaks at a lectern in front of a painting of Lincoln.
On Thursday, President Biden announced his plan to use government muscle to boost vaccination rates.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

How refreshing to see a defiant President Biden invite Republicans to “have at it” over his aggressive new plan to make sure most Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19. Thursday, he announced that private-sector businesses with more than 100 employees must make sure their workers are fully vaccinated or be tested each week before coming to work.

The order, which also applies to healthcare workers, federal contractors and most federal workers, is expected to affect more than 80 million American adults who remain unvaccinated.

It’s about time we had a president who stood up unapologetically for science and the public health, and against those selfish, reflexively anti-communitarian conservatives who think that inoculating themselves against a deadly new virus represents a horrendous trampling of their personal freedoms.


Republican governors are already foaming at the mouth to sue Biden for what they see as unconstitutional overreach. They were already worked up over his directive to the education secretary to use the weight of the federal government against governors who have blocked and intimidated local school officials from imposing mask mandates. (The hysteria on display by mask-hating parents at school board meetings across the country has become a social media genre all its own.)

In response to legal threats by Republican governors like Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Biden was blithe: “If those governors won’t help us beat the pandemic,” he said last week, “I will use my power as president to get them out of the way.”

The refusal of otherwise healthy people to vaccinate is, in fact, a trampling of common sense, decency and the very idea that any of us owes a measure of respect to those around us.

No man is an island, as the poet John Donne wrote, and that sentiment has never been more profound now that the world is in the clutches of a deadly pandemic that has already taken more than 4.5 million souls, roughly 658,000 of them in America.

I am so done with the public servants — especially firefighters and police officers who come into contact with the physically frail and vulnerable every day of their working lives — who believe they have a God-given right to refuse vaccines and still keep their jobs.

I’m talking to you, the many San Diego cops who claimed in a recent San Diego Police Officers Assn. survey that you would rather be fired than be forced to get the jab: Buh-bye!


Good luck finding another job that pays as well or better than policing, and has as good or better benefits. And don’t forget — if you end up working security for a company with more than 100 employees, the new Biden rule will still apply to you.

Opinion Columnist

Robin Abcarian

Health officials say that more than 90% of patients hospitalized with COVID are unvaccinated, that unvaccinated Americans are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die of COVID than those who have been vaccinated.

This is as Darwinian as it gets, but it’s a fact: People who become deathly ill with COVID don’t just face premature personal extinction, they also put an unnecessary strain on our hospitals, our healthcare workers, our first responders and our undertakers. Not to mention the danger they present to their families, friends and anyone else with whom they come into contact before they are diagnosed.

How many more stories do we have to read about the deathbed conversions of the unvaccinated before this lesson really sinks in?

Over the summer at least four conservative, anti-vax radio talk show hosts — all older white men — died of COVID.

“Conservative radio hosts all across America are losing their lives for the cause,” said a story in Vanity Fair.


I cannot think of a less righteous cause than refusing to take a safe and efficacious vaccine because medical experts — and the president— think you should.


It seems to me that the very same folks who spent months misguidedly trashing elected officials like California Gov. Gavin Newsom for closing schools, shutting down businesses and mandating masks are now the ones most loudly condemning the president’s vaccine mandate.

Make up your minds, people.

Either you want businesses, schools and restaurants to stay open, or you don’t. The power lies with you. The more the virus and its virulent Delta variant rage on, the greater the chance of another shutdown, more sickness and more death.

Through the miracle of science, we can actually help the virus go away, or at least recede, by getting vaccinated. This is why colleges and universities are mandating vaccines. And it’s why, as Forbes reported in August, “a host of airlines, retailers, tech companies, banks and health care companies have told employees that vaccinations will no longer be optional to come into the office — or in some cases, like at Ascension Health, even to work remotely.”

More than 700 colleges and universities require COVID vaccines, including all of the University of California and Cal State campuses.

As the guardian of a child who attends public middle school in Los Angeles, I could not be happier, nor more grateful, that the L.A. Board of Education has become the first of the country’s largest school districts to mandate vaccines for all students 12 and older. Starting in January, kids 12 and up must be vaccinated in order to step foot on campus.


How do people think polio was eradicated? Or smallpox? And why do you think measles has made a comeback?

These scourges are no longer threats, but only because vaccines were developed to prevent them.

We will never return to normal if fear and ignorant ideas about personal liberty do not give way to science and common sense.