Company mandates may not change made-up minds about vaccines
TAMPA, Fla. - Get the COVID-19 vaccine, undergo weekly testing, or risk termination. It's a new reality for millions of Americans.
Experts are watching to see if President Biden's announcement that large companies will have to either require employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing for COVID-19 will change the minds of those who still haven't taken the shot.
"If you won't get the vaccine, you shouldn't be taking the hospital beds up and putting our healthcare workers at risk," Tampa resident Betsy Smith said.
Others feel it's their choice.
Protesters oppose vaccine mandates in downtown Tampa, Sept. 10
"You make your own choices. The bottom line is if you want the vaccine, you get it. If you don't, you don't have to," Tampa resident Zoran Stojanovic said.
However, employment status might be persuasive for those who have not yet been vaccinated.
According to President Biden's mandate, companies with more than 100 employees must ask employees for proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test, on a weekly basis.
MORE: Florida healthcare providers, companies to face vaccination requirement
However, because Florida is a right-to-work state, companies requiring the vaccine are legally allowed to fire employees who refuse to get it. It's something labor attorney Jason Imler says companies most likely would have already acted on, by now.
"An attorney could get creative and say, ‘You retaliated against a person for opting into a denial,’ but even that, it's still that person's choice because the new mandate gives you vaccinate or test so you have a choice," Imler said.
Also, a big question is whether the new mandate will actually change anyone's mind about getting the vaccine. It may still be too early to tell.
MORE: Biden announces vaccine mandate for employers with more than 100 workers
On Friday, there were very few people coming through Hillsborough's only remaining county-run vaccine site, at Lee Davis Neighborhood Services Center in Tampa. Within the first four hours of opening, nurses told FOX 13 that two people had come in to get the shot.
Vaccine mandate protesters in downtown Tampa, Sept. 10
Tampa resident Connie O'Dell said her family is still split on the issue.
"My children refuse. I can't convince them and we don't discuss it,"
She's vaccinated, but her grown children, in their 30s, aren't and she feels the mandate probably won't change that.
"They have children. I say, 'Don't you want to protect your children?' They think I'm nuts. I got mine," O'Dell said.