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RUSTY GRILLS: Vaccines should remain voluntary, mandates unwise

As an elected representative for the state of Tennessee, it is my duty to defend and protect the God-given rights enshrined in our state’s founding document.  Within the Tennessee State Constitution, it is written that “no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience,” and the decision to vaccinate or not is a “right of conscience” in my humble opinion.

Recently, a flurry of private businesses across Tennessee announced COVID-19 vaccine mandates for their workers as a condition of employment.  These companies characterize these decisions as the ‘right thing to do’ while aiming to ‘protect the safety of their workplaces.’

Some are going a step further by requiring proof of vaccinations from their customers.

Vaccines are critical tools when it comes to fighting infectious diseases. The COVID-19 vaccine is still very new, so it’s understandable some are hesitant to get it. They also value safety. They also feel guided to do the right thing. They deserve the right to make a personal, medical decision without fear or the threat of losing their livelihood.

Forcing such a mandate is not only unwise for businesses at a time when labor shortages are high, it is inappropriate and unfair.

Tennessee has long served as a national example for being a pro-worker, pro-business, Right-to-Work state and I have worked hard to support and uphold those values as an elected official.

I have great respect for my fellow business owners. I understand the ways in which we’ve all had to be innovative and resilient in the face of so many challenges brought on by this pandemic.

Coronavirus is a real and very dangerous threat that continues to resurge in communities across the nation.  I strongly encourage everyone to consult with their physician about the various COVID-19 vaccine options. To get vaccinated should remain a voluntary, personal decision.

Every person has the absolute right to autonomy over what is injected into their body.  Let’s not force Tennessee’s employees to make medical decisions in conflict with their values. Rather, let’s continue to support our employees and judge them on the merit of their work and the value they bring to our businesses for a job well done.



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