Against COVID-19 pandemic, requiring Americans to get vaccines is not the answer

·2 min read

You’re reading the Opposing View, one of two perspectives in Today’s Debate.

For Our View, read COVID-19 new normal calls for new slogan: 'No shirt, no shoes – no vaccination – no service'

As a business owner and farmer, I value a free economy with limited government involvement. As a legislator, I work to reduce red tape and lower regulatory burdens to promote a strong and vibrant economy. COVID-19 has presented significant challenges for businesses, blurring the line between safety protocols and personal liberty like never before, leading to questions about the proper role of government and the rights and responsibilities of both citizens and business owners.

Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson
Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson

Every American has the right to choose whether to be vaccinated. While COVID-19 is an unprecedented public health challenge, requiring individuals to receive a vaccine is not the answer. Even more alarming is the thought that our government would force people to be vaccinated in order to enter a grocery store, dance at a wedding or dine indoors, and expect business owners and employees to police this effort.

In my view, the overwhelming majority of business owners like me want no part in discriminating against people who chose not to get a vaccine. We in business certainly do not support arbitrary and extended shutdowns of businesses.

To address these issues and constantly changing guidelines, and to keep our economy on the rebound, Florida passed a law that draws a clear line in our beautiful white sand. No shutdowns. No vaccine discrimination. Strong liability protections for businesses and health care providers acting in good faith.

I am proud to say Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t need this law to guide his decisions. Florida’s economy never shut down. Though faced with intense challenges, businesses across our state kept right on fueling our economy. We had no other choice. Chickens don’t feed themselves. They eat five times a day, seven days a week, pandemic or no pandemic. My farm delivered 288 million eggs to grocery stores last year, without a single vaccine passport. Business owners across the country have done the same thing, incurring significant expenses to incorporate every changing protocol.

We have done what was asked. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s not backtrack. With nearly 120 million fully vaccinated adults in the United States, we don’t need this overreach. We can stay safe, we can stay open, and we can stay the free country we all cherish.

Wilton Simpson is a lifelong egg farmer from Trilby, Florida, who serves as president of the Florida Senate. He has received his COVID-19 vaccine.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID-19 law in Florida: No shutdowns. No vaccine discrimination.