Physician running for state senate seat makes case against workplace vaccine mandates

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 5:43 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - The debate rages on about whether employers should be able to automatically fire workers who won’t get a COVID-19 vaccine. An ER physician in this area who is strongly opposed to the idea admits his position on Covid-19 may well put his own job in jeopardy.

Johnson opted not to be vaccinated and he claims that if he isn’t granted an exemption he may have to step aside from his job with Parkview Health as early as December 5. Johnson was among dozens of people who testified Tuesday at the statehouse on the issue of workplace vaccine mandates. A Republican-backed bill aimed at keeping businesses from requiring workers to get COVID-19 shots as a condition of employment was set to be voted on in a special session Monday, but that session has now been scrapped.

Dr. Johnson, who will seek the GOP nomination for the District 14 seat in the state senate in May, thinks businesses have no right to dictate what workers should do about COVID shots.

“Really, it’s a personal choice, it’s a discussion between me and my family and my doctor, so really nobody else has a discussion about my risk tolerance, my benefits that I see to it. And really, if it’s something that I don’t need or want, nobody else should be able to tell me that,” Johnson said.

DeKalb County’s health officer strongly supports the idea of employers being able to make their own vaccine policy decisions without interference from the Indiana General Assembly.

“I’m very surprised that politicians have decided to get in the business of medicine. I think they’re better off doing politics and making decisions about economics and leaving the pandemic planning to the people that know how to do that,” said Dr. Mark Souder.

Democrats in the legislature are applauding the delayed vote on the vaccine bill, saying it will allow necessary time to give this important issue the “full vetting it deserves”.

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