LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday she still supports President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, clarifying comments she made earlier this month in which she expressed concerns about it.
After a federal appeals court overruled a decision Dec. 17 that paused a nationwide vaccine mandate for employers of 100 workers or more, 27 Republican-led state governments have come forward with their intent to fight the mandate.
The mandate for full vaccination originally was set to take effect Jan. 4, but the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has said since the court’s decision that it wouldn’t be issuing citations before Jan. 10.
Whitmer, a Democrat, acknowledged at her year-end roundtable with reporters that some comments she made during a visit to Montcalm County were misunderstood. She said she was trying to address the problem of possibly losing state employees but that she still supports the mandate.
“We’ve got a chunk of people that have not yet been vaccinated and may not ever get vaccinated and what does that mean for our ability to deliver services to the people of our state?” Whitmer said. “I was not criticizing the Biden mandate.”
Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel said Monday, while several GOP state attorneys general are putting their weight behind the fight against the mandate, she supports it and would sign on to a legal opinion to support it.
“I am not going to join a lawsuit attempting to stop the vaccine mandate from going into effect and I think it is irresponsible and reckless for the AGs who have,” Nessel said.