'Unlawful overreach': Georgia governor vows to fight Biden vaccine mandate
ATLANTA - During President Joe Biden's announcement of a vaccine mandate that will affect as many as 100 million Americans, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp vowed to fight the federal plan.
Kemp responded on Thursday during the president's address with a tweet saying he will pursue legal avenues to fight the federal mandate.
Kemp described the White House move as "blatantly unlawful overreach."
Biden's announcement on Thursday included a new mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require employees are either vaccinated or tested for the virus weekly. The roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.
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Speaking at the White House, Biden criticized the roughly 80 million Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives.
"We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us," he said, all but biting off his words. The unvaccinated minority "can cause a lot of damage, and they are."
In Georgia, 44% of residents are fully vaccinated and data indicates just over 96% of Georgia's ICU beds are full, and 4 of the state's 16 hospital regions have no available critical care beds. The Department of Public Health reported Thursday 488 hospitalizations from COVID-19 and 155 confirmed deaths.
While Kemp has stated the COVID-19 vaccine works and reiterated his belief that it's the best way to fight high hospitalizations in the state, he's resisted the idea of federal or state mandates related to health.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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