SCOTUS hears arguments on proposed federal vaccine mandates

January 7, 2022

~ 5 minutes read

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images
The US Supreme Court heard arguments today about two proposed federal vaccine mandates — one “directed at businesses with 100 or more employees that would impose a vaccine-or-testing mandate,” and another “requiring workers at hospitals and other health care facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs to be vaccinated.”

The bottom line: We disagree on the need for vaccine mandates because our view of vaccines differs. The left tends to see vaccines as a low-risk action that prevents a domino effect of disease in society. The right tends to see vaccines as a personal choice that primarily affects the individual’s health, like choosing to eat healthy or exercise daily.

Below, we break down what information and values lead each side to reach distinct, internally reasonable conclusions.

What else is each side focusing on?
  • The Supreme Court itself has COVID-19 testing requirements and strict mask rules.
  • Masks and vaccines help stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Omicron variant causes less severe disease than prior variants.
  • Justices overstated the benefits of vaccination, specifically by claiming it stops transmission.
  • Justices overstated the severity of the current crisis.
The Narrative

These mandatory vaccination and test practices work, as proven by the fact that two attorneys are participating in the trial remotely because they tested positive. 

It would be hypocritical and cruel for the Supreme Court justices to deny everyday workers the same safe working conditions that they enjoy.

The left is overstating the dangers of the Omicron variant to push an illiberal agenda and limit people’s right to bodily autonomy. 

The government shouldn’t be able to prevent us from making a living over a personal health decision. People concerned about death and severe disease can just get vaccinated themselves.

How could a reasonable person come to think this?

To many on the left, the main focus is to protect vulnerable populations from severe illness and death. With vaccination requirements and masking, more people would be protected, which would save lives and ensure hospitals aren’t overwhelmed.

To many on the right, the continual push for stricter mandates around COVID-19 constitutes an attack on civil liberties. We must protect the individual’s right to bodily autonomy because mandates made in times of emergency will be abused after the crisis has subsided.

What else is the left focusing on?

  • The Supreme Court itself has COVID-19 testing requirements and strict mask rules.
  • Masks and vaccines help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

 

The narrative: These mandatory vaccination and test practices work, as proven by the fact that two attorneys are participating in the trial remotely because they tested positive. 

It would be hypocritical and cruel for the Supreme Court justices to deny everyday workers the same safe working conditions that they enjoy.

 

How could a reasonable person come to think this?

To many on the left, the main focus is to protect vulnerable populations from severe illness and death. With vaccination requirements and masking, more people would be protected, which would save lives and ensure hospitals aren’t overwhelmed.

What else is each side focusing on?

  • The Omicron variant causes less severe disease than prior variants.
  • Justices overstated the benefits of vaccination, specifically by claiming it stops transmission.
  • Justices overstated the severity of the current crisis.

 

The narrative: The left is overstating the dangers of the Omicron variant to push an illiberal agenda and limit people’s right to bodily autonomy. 

The government shouldn’t be able to prevent us from making a living over a personal health decision. People concerned about death and severe disease can just get vaccinated themselves.

 

How could a reasonable person come to think this?

To many on the right, the continual push for stricter mandates around COVID-19 constitutes an attack on civil liberties. We must protect the individual’s right to bodily autonomy because mandates made in times of emergency will be abused after the crisis has subsided. 

To learn more about why people are so divided on mandates around COVID-19, check out our deep dive.

Notable Amplifiers

What do you think? Do you agree with one side, or do you fall somewhere in between? Give us feedback on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook, or by emailing info@narrativesproject.com.