ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Governor Asa Hutchinson said on Meet the Press Sunday morning he worries president Joe Biden’s recent executive orders that require COVID-19 vaccinations for most Americans will make it harder to get unvaccinated Arkansans to roll up their sleeves.
“The problem is that I’m trying to overcome resistance,” Hutchinson said. “But the president’s actions in a mandate hardens the resistance.”
The mandate comes in an attempt to control what President Biden is calling a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Under the president’s plan, businesses with more than 100 employees must mandate vaccines. All federal employees and contractors, and workers in healthcare and education that receive federal funds must also be vaccinated or face weekly testing.
“We have the tools to combat the virus,” President Biden said during his announcement speech earlier in the week. “It’s about coming together as a country to use those tools.”
Hutchinson, on the other hand, said it’s a decision that should should be left up to each state.
“It divides our partnership between the federal government and the states, and it increases the division in terms of vaccination when we should all be together trying to increase the vaccination uptake,” he said.
If not the state, Hutchinson said, then individual employers should have the right to decide for their own workplaces.
“I support businesses being able to require vaccination,” he noted. “But it’s their own independent choice for their workplace. But to have the federal mandate will be counterproductive. It’s going to increase resistance.”
Arkansas’ Governor said it’s not a mandate the country needs, but better messaging.
“It’s all about the trust factor,” said Hutchinson. “Our vaccination rates went up 40%, both because we’re providing better information, bringing in trusted advisors to the public, but also because of the risk factor.”