Pritzker considers COVID-19 vaccine mandates, more restrictions

(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker is evaluating whether to require state employees under his control to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but mandatory vaccinations are not politically popular.

Since the state has been tracking the Delta variant in February, 716 cases have been reported. Pritzker said Wednesday he’s considering more COVID-19 mitigations.

“It’s of great concern to me that we have a rise in cases, particularly Delta variant, which tends to move much faster than previous variants,” Pritzker said. “And so I am looking at all the possible mitigations that we could, should consider.”

Convention of States Action President Mark Meckler said a recent poll conducted by The Trafalgar Group indicates the majority of Americans from all political persuasions don’t want any more government intervention.

“We see 63% of the American public, so that’s almost two-thirds, say that they don’t want the government mandating anything in regard to COVID,” Meckler said. “And so people are fed up with it. People understand that the government has been duplicitous in the things that they’ve told us.”

The poll of more than 1,000 likely 2022 election voters is alarming, Meckler said, because it shows people are losing faith in government leaders and their appointed public health officials.

“I think it’s actually a very dangerous thing that people don’t trust the government health officials anymore,” Meckler said. “We live in a society where we should be able to and we need to but people don’t.”

On vaccines, Pritzker said he’s looking primarily at requiring certain state employees to be vaccinated if they work in human service fields like with veterans or those with developmental disabilities.

“Those are the first line of folks that I’m focusing on but certainly looking at a broader group as well,” Pritzker said when asked if he’ll mandate state employees be vaccinated.

Mandating vaccines also isn’t popular. Meckler said the poll outcome shows opposition crosses political affiliation.

“These are bipartisan numbers, 87% of Republicans are against it, 67% of independents, and 59% of Democrats say that taking a COVID vaccine should be just a personal choice,” Meckler said.

Meckler said the polling data suggests politicians pushing more mandates may find favor turning against them in upcoming elections.

The poll, conducted earlier this month, had a margin of error of 2.99%. Of the 1,077 people polled, nearly 40% were Democrats, 35.6% were Republicans and 25% were labeled non-partisan, or other.

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