Conservative advocacy group Turning Point USA has announced the launch of a campaign to fight COVID-19 vaccine mandates across the nation’s college campuses.
“I’m not anti-COVID vaccination, and I’m not pro-COVID vaccination—I’m COVID vaccine agnostic,” said Turning Point founder and president, Charlie Kirk, in a Thursday statement. “But I am 100 percent against mandating this vaccination.”
COVID-19 vaccines have become a flashpoint in the culture war now gripping America, with opponents of vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, and many other pandemic-related restrictions viewing them as an unacceptable violation of civil liberties, while supporters tend to see them as necessary inconveniences to protect vulnerable populations and, more broadly, get the outbreak under control faster.
“TPUSA is fighting the battle on 2,500+ campuses where rogue administrators are trying to thwart students educational goals and force them to publicly share their medical history,” the group says on the webpage. “The government has taken many strides to ease their way into private citizens lives, and mandatory vaccinations are the newest way in which they can do so.”
Kirk argued that, “at its core, this issue is not about the vaccine. This is about freedom and information. No person should be forced to get the vaccine against their will or hindered in participating in society for not receiving it.”
Pointing out that most students are at low risk of serious complications from COVID-19, Kirk said “it is unacceptable” for educational institutions to require students to get the shot to be eligible for in-person learning.
“This is a false choice,” Kirk said, “and it’s time America’s students had someone in their corner fighting for their freedom to choose.”
It comes as the Biden administration has ramped up its COVID-19 response efforts after the White House fell short of its self-imposed July 4 deadline to get 70 percent of American adults at least one vaccination shot.
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden and White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced a plan to send teams door-to-door to provide information about vaccines in areas with relatively low vaccination rates.
Biden pledged to “go community by community … and oftentimes door to door, literally knocking on doors” in an effort to get people vaccinated, drawing the ire of Republican lawmakers, who argued that the government doesn’t have the right to know who is or isn’t vaccinated.
“How about don’t knock on my door. You’re not my parents. You’re the government. Make the vaccine available, and let people be free to choose. Why is that concept so hard for the left?” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) wrote on Twitter.
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 67 percent of American adults have received at least one shot, and more than 157 million people are fully vaccinated.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.