A California sheriff vowed not to enforce the state's vaccine mandate in his department, saying the matter was between his employees and their doctors.
"Over the past couple of weeks, the idea of forced vaccination has caused much concern across the entire country," Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said in a statement. "I will not enforce the vaccine mandate on Sheriff's Department employees."
Bianco said he made his decision on the COVID-19 vaccine mandate to protect the rights of his employees.
"I am certainly not anti-vaccine. I am anti-vaccine for me," he said. "That decision should be made in consultation with your doctor after discussing the potential benefit and the potential negative side effects."
Bianco and his entire family were reportedly infected and recovered from the disease last winter, ABC7 said.
The impetus behind Bianco's statement is twofold, the sheriff said.
First, Bianco said he wanted to counter a local reporter who he said observed the sheriff's podcast and "cherry-picked statements from supposed health experts in an attempt to paint me ... in a negative light."
Second, he said he believes that it is his duty as a sheriff who "swore an oath to the Constitution of the United States and the State of California" to protect citizens as the "last line of defense from the tyrannical government overreach."
"The government has no ability and no authority to mandate your health choices," he said. "As your Sheriff I have an obligation to guard your liberty and freedom."
That freedom should be protected by the government, not degraded by it, Bianco said.
"It is time our government and our politicians come to the realization that the only reason they exist is because 'we the people' formed our government to secure the blessings of individual liberty and freedom," he concluded.
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Original Author: Luke Gentile