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'Move the goalposts': DeSantis, other top GOPers concerned about Dems move toward booster mandate

With the recent FDA approval of the Pfizer & Moderna boosters, some in the GOP fear a third shot will soon become the new requirement

Published: November 19, 2021 2:03pm

Updated: November 19, 2021 4:57pm

Republicans are raising concerns and opposing efforts by Democrats in Washington and across the country to try to require, or even mandate, that Americans get a booster COVID-19 vaccination shot to be considered fully protected from the virus, with a top GOP lawmaker says they're "moving the goalposts."

New Mexico Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham now says fully vaccinated "means three vaccines," in her push to get booster shots to all eligible adults in her state.

"We are analyzing what we can do to create those incentives – and potentially mandates – for making sure that people are fully vaccinated, which means three vaccines," she said Wednesday. 

The next day, Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis raised concerns about Grisham's effort and the Biden administration's new OSHA rule that may ultimately require workers at larger, private companies to receive three shots. DeSantis brought up the issue amid federal court proceedings that have paused enforcement of the federal mandate.  

"I said a week or two ago OSHA is putting out this rule. They're going to say that whatever you need to do, but they're gonna move the goalposts and they're gonna say, 'If you don't have a booster by a certain date, then you're unvaccinated,' " DeSantis said Thursday when signing legislation to try to protect residents from losing their jobs due to COVID mandates. 

“You could lose your job. People tried to say, 'Oh, you know, that's not what they said.' Well, now even [Dr.] Fauci is saying he wants the boosters to count. New Mexico said unless you do the boosters, they're gonna consider you unvaccinated. So we reject that approach."

Steve Pearce, chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico and former congressman, was also critical of Grisham's push. 

"Gov. Lujan Grisham's call to get booster shots is another example of her exerting government control over her constituents," he told Just the News on Friday. 

"It's imperative that New Mexicans, and anyone for that matter, make health choices for themselves. This governor keeps stripping away our freedoms. These kinds of government decrees have become Lujan Grisham’s trademark, and her pandemic policies continue to manifest disastrous results as COVID cases spike in New Mexico."

Pearce spoke a day after Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont took a position similar on boosters similar to that of Grisham's. 

Lamont said the definition of "fully vaccinated" needs to be changed to include only people who have received a booster shot.

"In my view, if you were vaccinated more than six months ago, you're not fully vaccinated," he said, according to local news station WVIT. "If you were vaccinated more than six months ago, now is the time and go get that booster. I urge you to get it now." 

Friday morning,  the Food and Drug Administration has granted widespread approval of booster shots, which may be available to all adults as soon as this weekend. Some states chose to leapfrog the feds and have already launched campaigns pushing for their residents to get the third shot.

States that have expanded booster access include Colorado, California, New York, West Virginia, Arkansas, Minnesota, Maine, Kansas, Kentucky and New Mexico.

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