Mask order for state workers, employers mandating vaccines ignite backlash

NOW: Mask order for state workers, employers mandating vaccines ignite backlash

MADISON Wis. (CBS 58) -- A new mask mandate for state workers, and vaccine mandates for some health care workers, are creating backlash from several organizations.

It comes after many employers and government officials are beginning to issue COVID-19 restrictions as infections explode across the state.

Wisconsin United for Freedom (WUF) and nearly 80 other organizations wrote an open letter to Governor Tony Evers and President Biden urging them to support health freedom and vaccine choice.

"When a government official tries to stand between me and what I think is best for my children, I take a big problem with that," said Rachel McCardle, a parent and member of WUF.

Over 8,000 people have also signed onto a petition to "end the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers." It started after several large health care providers began mandating vaccines for their employees including UW-Health, Froedtert Health, Medical College of Wisconsin, Children's Wisconsin, Ascension, ProHealth Care and Advocate Aurora Health.

While the decision is opposed by some, others in the health care industry say there's strong evidence that COVID-19 mandates will be highly effective.

"If it's within their power to be able to prevent the spread of the delta variant in the workplace, it's a good idea," said Ajay Sethi, professor of population health sciences at UW-Madison. "If more people get vaccinated, we will see a decrease in community spread and will all start feeling better."

Efforts to get more people vaccinated are growing more urgent as state health officials warn if vaccination rates don't increase, the delta variant could continue to evolve.

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