In the wake of a suggestion from President Joe Biden that door-to-door outreach across the country is needed to achieve higher rates of COVID-19 vaccination, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson (AR) asserted that there is “nothing dramatic” about the idea and added that he wants “all the help we can get” in order get more shots into arms, as ABC News reports.
Just last week, Biden explained his belief that to increase vaccination rates, “we need to go community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, oftentimes door-to-door,” a stance that immediately sparked outrage from conservatives everywhere.
During a Sunday appearance on ABC’s This Week, however, Gov. Hutchinson seemed to take the side of the administration over that of a host of his GOP colleagues on the issue of intrusive vaccination outreach, claiming that he is simply “working hard” to combat vaccine hesitancy in his state, where just 35% of residents have received their full compliment of shots.
When asked by host George Stephanopoulous about what he called the “politicization” of vaccines, Hutchinson opined, “There shouldn’t be a partisan divide, first of all, but clearly a conservative is more hesitant about government authority. …We’ve got to overcome that mistrust, because Republicans, Democrats, we all suffer the same consequences: the Delta variant gets is if we’re not vaccinated.”
With regard to Biden’s idea of door-to-door outreach efforts, Hutchinson said, “No one wants an agent knocking on a door, but we do want those that do not have access otherwise to make sure they know about and have the information. …If it means going into a community door-to-door and letting them know, then that’s okay.”
Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona encapsulated the objections of many to any such initiative, saying, “Door-to-door vaccine checks on Americans are a blatant abuse of government authority and a pure power play by the Biden administration. The federal government has no right to track the private health information of Americans or to intimidate people into getting the vaccine.”
In response to Republican backlash, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra shot back that “it is absolutely the government’s business” to have information on the vaccination status of individual Americans, claiming, “the federal government has spent trillions of dollars to try and keep Americans alive during this pandemic…it is taxpayers’ business, if we have to continue to spend money to try and keep people from contracting COVID.”
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich sent a letter to the White House expressing the concern felt by many at the administration’s statements, writing, “I, along with many Arizonans, was greatly alarmed by your White House indicating that it might be in possession of medical records revealing the contact information for Americans who have not been vaccinated…If this is the case, this is a severe breach of privacy, and I will not tolerate such intrusions within Arizona.”
Expressing the sentiments of millions of Americans who believe the administration should simply stay out of their personal health decisions, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX) bluntly stated, “How about don’t knock on my door. You’re not my parents. You’re the government. Make the vaccine available, and let people be free to choose.” It’s sad indeed to see a Republican governor like Hutchinson take issue with that fundamental concept.