Local residents react vaccine mandates


PANAMA CITY, Fla., (WMBB) – With COVID-19 cases again on the rise in Bay County and across the U.S., and vaccination rates slowing, President Biden is expected to make an announcement that would require COVID-19 vaccinations for federal workers.

In Bay County – an area hospital is already making it a requirement and private businesses have the authority to follow suit.

Most Bay County residents were not thrilled with the news.

“This is our body! You can’t mandate things that we don’t have concrete evidence to prove,” said Wilma Velazquez, a local resident.

Others shared a similar sentiment…like Jessie Klintworth, a nurse at a local rehab facility.

“If he tries to say that we have to get the vaccine or go back to regular mask mandates, I just don’t understand why if most people are getting vaccinated,” said Klintworth. “Why they are wanting to go back to the old mandates with masks and stuff like that. It just doesn’t seem like it’s an even trade.”

President Joe Biden told reporters on Tuesday he’s considering mandating all federal employees get vaccinated against COVID.

“If you’re not vaccinated, then you’re as smart as I thought you were,” Biden said.

According to the Florida Department of Health, less than half of the population of Bay County 12 and up, have been vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reversed its guidance on wearing masks – now suggesting that fully vaccinated people should still wear masks indoors in places with high transmission rates.

Unlike others interviewed today, Nat Muriel was in support of mitigation efforts.

“Just reading about how it is spiking again and the new variant coming out and a lot of people actually don’t even know about it which is unsettling,” Muriel said. “So hopefully people do wear a mask and get the vaccine to help save lives.

Biden’s formal announcement is expected to come sometime on Thursday.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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