FILE - VT Phil Scott 4-11-2018

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott

(The Center Square) – Vermont Gov. Phil Scott expressed support for President Joe Biden’s new vaccination mandates this week, making him a rare Republican to back the move.

Scott, who has frequently touted his state’s relatively high COVID-19 vaccination rate compared to the rest of the nation, shared his thoughts not long after Biden spoke to the nation Thursday.

“I appreciate the President’s continued prioritization of vaccination and the country’s recovery as we move forward,” Scott wrote on Twitter. “As Vermont’s experience shows, vaccines work and save lives. They are the best and fastest way to move past this pandemic.”

Biden announced Thursday that via an executive order, his administration would be requiring employers with more than 100 workers to mandate vaccination or frequent testing for COVID-19 infection. Health care workers and most federal employees will also have to be vaccinated.

Many of Scott’s fellow Republican governors, including Greg Abbott of Texas, Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Mark Gordon of Wyoming issued statements opposing Biden’s moves.

Scott this week had extended Vermont’s vaccination mandate to include nearly all state employees, about 8,000 people; previously, only those who worked in facilities housing people for long-term stays, such as prisons and a psychiatric facility, had been subject to the mandate. Workers can also opt to undergo weekly testing and wear masks indoors at all times.

The governor has been opposed, however, to mandating masking in Vermont’s schools. The state's guidance until this week was that masks should only be required for the first 10 days of the school year, if at least 80% of eligible students are vaccinated; that has since been extended until Oct. 4. Some school superintendents have pushed for the state to issue a mask mandate for all schools, but Scott has insisted that because only one district, with a single school, opted against a masking requirement, the issue is largely moot.

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Delphine Luneau is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience. She was the editor of Suburban Life Media when its flagship was named best weekly in Illinois, and she has worked at papers in South Carolina, Indiana, Idaho and New York.