(The Center Square) – The Biden administration's vaccine mandates for private employers, health care workers, and federal contracts will exacerbate New Hampshire's workforce shortage and supply chain issues, according to a new report by a legislative committee.
The report, produced by the Legislature's Committee to Examine Policy on Medical Interventions and Immunizations, concluded that the federal government's vaccine mandate "will further and significantly exacerbate the shortage of workers" in the state and said it supports legal challenges to overturn the restrictions.
"The worker shortage is impacting all sectors of the New Hampshire economy ranging from first responders to health care, to manufacturing, to retail and hospitality," the report's authors wrote. "Worker shortages undermine public safety, worsen the supply chain issues gripping our state and nation and will cause accelerating inflationary pressures impacting Americans in all walks of life."
The Republican-controlled panel also said employers – whether they are public or private – should be required to offer "flexible medical, religious, and conscientious objector" exemptions from any federal or state vaccine mandate and that "any exemption request be honored."
"To prevent potential ethical violation quagmire for healthcare workers providing vaccination to people who consent under financial or psychological duress like threats to discontinue employment, we encourage the Legislature to move quickly to enact legislation to provide a blocking mechanism for the people and for businesses against the federal mandates and rules that create de facto mandates," the lawmakers wrote.
Lawmakers are considering more than 30 bills in the upcoming legislative session dealing with vaccine mandates and COVID-19 restrictions, including masking.
House Speaker Sherman Packard, R-Londonderry, said recently he is drafting legislation for consideration in the upcoming session to block the state or local governments from enforcing the vaccine mandates in the state.
Biden's mandate will require employees at private companies with more than 100 workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly. The administration is also requiring vaccined for federal workers and contractors who do business with the federal government, as well as for health care workers at hospitals and other facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding.
New Hampshire is among the GOP-controlled states that are fighting Biden's mandates, even as many of the state's Democrats have voiced support for the vaccine requirements.
New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella joined other Republican attorneys general two weeks ago in filing a lawsuit against Biden over his COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal workers. He also joined a separate legal fight over the requirements for private sector workers.
A recent poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center found that Granite Staters were divided over Biden's vaccine mandate.
Roughly 48% of the respondents said they support the mandate, while 45% said they oppose it, which was within the poll's 3% margin of error.