Dubuque residents, company, public health department react to President Biden’s new vaccine mandate

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 11:19 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - About 40 people gathered at Washington Park in Dubuque on Friday with one clear message.

”We just want to promote unity and let everyone know that we are here to support each other,” Carrie Miller, an attendee, said.

The group was promoting unity through a peaceful protest against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. This came a day after President Joe Biden announced new vaccine mandates nationwide: Companies with 100 or more employees must make sure their workers are either vaccinated or getting tested weekly. A company could face a fine of up to $14,000 per employee if they do not follow the mandate.

Miller said they want people to be able to make their own decisions.

”No matter what your choice is, to get vaccinated or to not get vaccinated, to wear a mask or not wear a mask, we support whatever your choice is just as long as you support ours,” Miller said. ”We as individuals have the freedoms; there are people that fought and died for our rights and those rights cannot be overlooked.”

Dupaco Credit Union is one of the companies that would be impacted by this mandate. Dave Klavitter, the company’s chief marketing officer, said safety and health are top of mind in the company.

”I think all of us seek to make the best decisions for the safety of our employees and our members, but as a credit union at the same time we have a duty to make sure we can serve our members’ critical financial needs,” Klavitter said.

Dupaco is not currently mandating vaccines for its employees, but it had returned to requiring masks for all staff, regardless of vaccination status, because of seeing more cases of the virus. Klavitter said they are currently waiting on more guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration when it comes to these new mandates.

”Lot of uncertainty here, we all want to be safe, we all want life to be back to normal, so how do we make those decisions that can get us through this,” Klavitter said.

In a statement to KCRG-TV9, the Dubuque County Public Health Department said its incident management team “has not yet reviewed details of President Biden’s new vaccine requirements for employees of some businesses/organizations.” The statement said the team will work with local health care providers and other partners to prepare for the vaccination and testing needs the new requirements may create in Dubuque County.

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