Reynolds says ruling blocking Covid vaccination mandate is ‘major victory’

DES MOINES — Governor Kim Reynolds says the Supreme Court’s ruling that blocks federal Covid vaccine requirements in large businesses is a major victory for Iowans and their personal freedoms.

During an interview with Radio Iowa before the ruling was announced, Reynolds called the vaccine mandate arbitrary.

“We’re going to continue to encourage people to get vaccinated. I’m not in favor of a mandate,” said Reynolds, who was vaccinated on live television and announced she had a booster shot before the holidays. “…It doesn’t stop people from getting it, especially the new variant or transmitting it. You know, that’s been demonstrated.”

Reynolds said it was “ridiculous” for the Biden Administration to try to make businesses be “the enforcer” to get workers vaccinated or tested once a week. President Biden today said “if you’re unvaccinated, you are 17 times more likely to get hospitalized if you get Covid” and it’s now up to individual employers to make their workplaces safe as possible during the pandemic.

It’s unclear what’s next in the Iowa legislature where a group of House Republicans had been crafting a bill to ban vaccine mandates in Iowa businesses. Reynolds said policymakers have to be “really careful” not to penalize businesses that are requiring all employees to be vaccinated.

“It’s a balance,” Reynolds told Radio Iowa. “These are individual, private companies and so we have to make sure that we’re not overstepping in the same manner that we’re criticizing, you know, the federal government for doing — for overstepping.”

The Supreme Court has allowed a separate federal vaccination requirement for health care workers to remain in force. In a written statement released today, Reynolds called that a disappointment. The Iowa Hospital Association’s president and CEO said vaccines are “an important tool to combat Covid-19,” but the vaccine mandate “has the potential to create additional staffing issues” in health care settings.

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