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Unions, Rochester residents react to Biden administration vaccine mandate

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- President Biden issued a major executive order Thursday; requiring all federal employees be vaccinated for COVID-19 or test weekly for the virus. His administration deems the current situation in America a "pandemic of the unvaccinated."

"America is divided between the majority of people who are eligible to be vaccinated and those who are not. And I understand that many of you in the majority are frustrated with the failure of the minority to get vaccinated," said Biden.

In response to the mandate, workers' unions formed their own responses. The American Postal Workers Union opposed the mandate in a statement:

"Maintaining the health and safety of our members is of paramount importance. While the APWU leadership continues to encourage postal workers to voluntarily get vaccinated, it is not the role of the federal government to mandate vaccinations for the employees we represent."

Many in Rochester said they voluntarily received a COVID-19 vaccine, but argued it should be a personal choice in spite of acknowledging the importance of vaccination.

"I believe in science, this makes me reflect back when I was in the military trained as an army medic, and there was an outbreak of spinal meningitis at boot camp, in Louisiana. We took precautions because the greater good is a mission statement," said John Kreusel, owner of Kreusel's general merchandise and auction company.

Others agree it should be required.

"You've heard some comparisons to not smoking in federal buildings or not smoking in restaurants for other people's health," said LeeAnn Wacholz, a Rochester resident.

"Unless we have a very easy means of testing to see whether there is a person spreading the virus… I think what President Biden is doing with his advice and with his council with the CDC is the direction to take," said Kreusel.

Wacholz also said private companies should require it.

"They're keeping their employees so they're not getting sick and losing productivity in the workplace," said Wacholz.

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Noah Caplan

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