Arizona governor extends ban on local government COVID-19 vaccine mandates

As battles over President Joe Biden’s federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates continue to make their way through the courts, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has taken new action to prevent similar requirements from being enacted by governmental units in his home state, as Fox News reports.

On Wednesday, Ducey put his signature on an executive order banning state and local governments from promulgating vaccine mandates of their own and which states, “No person shall be required by this state, or any city, town or county to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine.”

The order was essentially an extension of a prior state and local government vaccine mandate ban he had already signed, but which had recently expired, and the action notably does not prevent health care organizations and institutions from making coronavirus jabs compulsory for their employees.

Arizona’s governor has long made his position on vaccine mandates quite clear, promising earlier this year to “push back” on Biden’s edict requiring companies with 100 or more employees to compel the jabs.

“COVID-19 is a contagious disease, it is still with us and it will be for the foreseeable future. President Biden’s solution is hammering down on private businesses and individual freedoms in an unprecedented and dangerous way,” as Fox News noted separately.

As a Ducey spokesperson explained to Fox News this week, “COVID mandates of any kind – whether they concern masks or vaccines – have proven to be divisive and counterproductive. Governor Ducey believes Arizonans can and should make their own decisions about their healthcare, not an overreaching federal or city government.”

Despite Ducey’s executive action last week and his previously declared opposition to mandates, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero defiantly declared Thursday that she had no plans to lift her municipality’s existing vaccine requirement for city workers, as local NBC affiliate station KVOA reported.

Romero lashed out at Ducey’s renewal of his prior order, saying, “The governor needs to focus on the crisis at hand as COVID-19 cases rise. He can’t say that he’s for public health and tie the hands of cities and counties as the pandemic surges to record levels and hospital ICU beds dwindle.”

With each iteration of Biden’s federal vaccine mandate – one for workers at healthcare facilities receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid funds, one for employees of large companies, and one for federal contractors – currently in the midst of legal wrangling likely to end up at the U.S. Supreme Court, it remains highly encouraging to see governors like Ducey taking a principled stand for individual liberty in the meantime.