Rights vs. Mask and Vaccine Mandates

Rights vs. mask and vaccine mandates are the focus of today’s discussion with Political psychologist Dr. Bart Rossi, Ph.D. who joins Flordia ABC affiliate to discuss.

As previously noted, there is a lot of vaccine frustration in the United States. Those that have gotten it are frustrated that those that haven’t continue to say they won’t. And those that won’t are frustrated that government and medical officials keep stressing them to get it.

And with Florida recently seeing the highest spike in cases and hospitalizations (in the country) since the pandemic began, brings his loose policy into question. In a recent article “The delta variant is ripping through Florida right now” in Desert News:

  • We have peaked above any previous wave and it is straining our system, our physicians and all of our clinicians,” said Neil Finkler, chief clinical officer of AdventHealth’s Central Florida division, according to USA Today.

When Biden initiated a national mask mandate at the beginning of his turn and rolled out an aggressive vaccine distribution plan, the number of COVID-19 cases began to plummet. But then, vaccinations began to slow as a large portion of citizens were hesitant, or outright refused, to get it.

Since then the Delta variant has begun to spread like wildfire across the United States with yet another surge. This, in turn, has seen frustration grow alongside that surge.  The Biden administration along with national, regional, and local health officials have attempted an aggressive outreach program to counteract the disinformation on social media and some conservative media outlets.

Some GOP leaders, such as Mitch McConnell, and conservative media commentators such s Sean Hannity have reversed course and urged their supporters to get vaccinated, But as of now, that may have been too little, too late.

The loudest voice in the GOP, Donald Trump, has refused to go big and loud in urging people to get vaccinated, mostly remaining silent, despite him and his family being vaccinated early in the year. Other GOP voices such as Majorie Taylor Greene, Bobert, Gaetz, and others, continue to incite vaccine hesitancy, while all refusing to say whether they themselves have been vaccinated.

Rights vs. Mask and Vaccine Mandates

There is no argument that individuals have the right to decide if they want to get the vaccine. But they do not have the right to refuse vaccination and expect that they can still gain access to social spaces where they put others at risk.

I recently spoke to a friend that is a vaccine hesitant. He said, “I hear a lot of questions about its safety,” he told me. So I asked him:

  1. Did you question safety when you got a polio vaccine? “No.”
  2. Do you question safety when you take various medicines for the common cold or the flu? “No”.
  3. Do you really think that the world’s eyes focused on these vaccines that big pharma would screw around? “No.”

It would seem then that the hesitancy is being driven by misinformation and political agendas to tell their supporters what they want to hear, even if that information puts the citizenship at risk.

While Governors like Ron DeSantis of Florida and Kristi Noem of South Dakota push back on health guidelines, i.e. masks and vaccines, their states have some of the worst per capita infection, hospitalization, and death rates in the country.

As politicians’ position and debate over official guidelines, the private sector has emerged to take the lead.  United Airlines, with 67,000 employees, just announced that all employees must be vaccinated to work at United. This is a much stronger stance than Microsoft, Google, and others that announced that employees needed to be vaccinated, or submit to regular testing.


Dr. Bart Rossi appeared on ABC Florida affiliate WINK NEWS o discuss the psychological implications affecting America regarding citizen rights vs. mask and vaccine mandates.

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