Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Sunday that the new federal vaccine mandate President Joe Biden announced last week for large-scale employers is “contradictory” and will “harden opposition” against those not yet vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Biden administration’s measure could affect up to 80 million workers and is expected to be issued by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration within the coming weeks. Employers will be expected to ask all employees to either test weekly or be fully vaccinated against the virus — or face fines of $14,000 per violation.
“This is going to harden opposition. Sometimes when you’re a leader, you have to go in and use a sledgehammer. And I’ve been known to do that when I was governor. Sometimes it’s appropriate, but this one was not the time to do it. We have to be persuasive, we have to continue to persuade,” the Republican governor said during an appearance on ABC’s This Week.
Christie has been pushing in favor of the COVID-19 vaccine, participating in several public service campaigns promoting vaccine safety and efficacy. However, the conservative governor shares similar concerns as other GOP leaders in his party who have vehemently condemned Biden’s vaccine mandate.
“Working for the government and ordering government workers to have to have a mandate there’s one thing, extending that to two-thirds of all the jobs and making it either give vaccine or not, it’s also contradictory logically,” Christie said Sunday.
Christie also raised questions concerning the Biden administration’s assertions that every U.S. resident needs to be vaccinated to protect already-vaccinated individuals, noting that data suggests vaccinated people are more resistant to future illnesses.
“Because what they’re telling us is, by all the data, that vaccinated people are very, very well-protected from anyone who’s unvaccinated and who has it, yet they’re saying to us, ‘We have to do this to protect you.’ Well, that’s protecting the unvaccinated from the unvaccinated,” he added.
The former New Jersey governor tested positive for COVID-19 in October and was hospitalized after attending debate preparation sessions when former President Donald Trump was still in office.