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Indiana Business Groups Disagree With Federal Vaccine Mandate

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Justin Hicks
/
IPB News

Several major companies in Indiana including Eli Lilly, Anthem and Roche Diagnostics said they will require COVID-19 vaccines for their employees. But many other Hoosier businesses say the Biden administration’s proposed mandate to require vaccines or weekly testing goes too far. 

The federal requirement would affect businesses with 100 or more employees. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce represents many of those businesses in the state. President and CEO Kevin Brinegar said employers want the pandemic to be over.

"I can tell you that the employers that I've talked to in the last month or so, are very frustrated that the pandemic is persisting, and they view it as a result of a large portion of our population who have refused or chosen not to get vaccinated," Brinegar said. "And they feel very strongly that it is these unvaccinated individuals who are perpetuating the pandemic."

Last month, the chamber launched the COVID Stops Here campaign to get companies to encourage their employees to get vaccinated. So far hundreds of businesses have participated in the campaign that the organization is using to help get the economy back to pre-pandemic levels.

Still, Brinegar said any decision to require vaccines should rest with individual companies.

“The chamber is still of the position that should be the employer's determination as to whether or not to require vaccination or proof of [a] negative COVID test," he said. "This requirement or mandate from the Biden administration goes beyond that.” 

READ MORE: How Is Indiana Distributing COVID-19 Vaccines? Here's What You Need To Know

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on COVID-19 and other statewide issues.

Brinegar said if the proposed federal requirement passes legal scrutiny, then the chamber will encourage Hoosier business owners to comply.

The National Federation for Independent Business (NFIB) represents small businesses all over the country, including in Indiana. The organization released a statement in response to the proposed vaccine mandate and weekly testing requirement.

Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB vice president of federal government relations, said it could be “costly and burdensome” to small businesses and that, "additional mandates, enforcement, and penalties will further threaten the fragile small business recovery."

Contact reporter Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.

Last month, we welcomed Samantha Horton to our station. She is Indiana Public Broadcasting reporter, mainly reporting on business and economic issues in the States of Indiana for WBAA. After graduated from Evansville University with a triple majors degree (International studies, Political science and Communication), Samantha worked for a Public Radio at Evansville for three years, and then she joined WBAA because she wanted to take a bigger role on reporting. So far she enjoyed working in WBAA as business and economy reporter.