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Fred Keller, U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district

Washington, D.C. -- The push to get more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 and its subsequent variants has the Biden administration utilizing the full power of the White House in pushing more U.S. workers and employers to get vaccinated against the ongoing health crisis.

U.S. Rep. Fred Keller (PA-12) said he adamantly does not agree with the president.

“Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate not only contradicts his previous assurances - it infringes on the most basic freedoms of America’s workers and employers to make their own health decisions regarding vaccination," Keller said in a statement.

“As the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, I will fight these totalitarian measures through all available means. The federal government has no authority to dictate who is permitted to have a job, and Biden’s efforts to strong-arm employers into compliance will not stand," Keller said in his statement. 

Keller's history of vaccine support

In a meeting in July 2020 with Rutul Dalal, MD, Medical Director of Infectious Disease at UPMC in Williamsport, Keller was told, “If we can reach 70% of the community, by the end of June or mid July we could be back to near normal."

Dalal told Keller that "Vaccination might slow down due to acceptance levels. Local leaders like yourself can have influence.”

That same month on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Keller praised Dalal. 

“In the early days of the pandemic, Dr. Dalal, along with the administration of UPMC Williamsport, provided a critical voice of reason, calm, and thoughtfulness in reassuring our community of local healthcare providers’ ability to deal with COVID-19," Keller said.

Keller also introduced the Saving Hypodermic injections and Offering vaccines to Taxpayers Swiftly (SHOTS) Act in April 2021, which was designed to prioritize COVID-19 vaccines for Americans over illegal aliens.

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According to Chris Orestis, president of Retirement Genius, and a nationally recognized financial, health/LTC, and retirement issues expert, there is a particular group of Americans who would benefit from Biden's vaccine mandates.

"As seniors are among the most vulnerable population impacted by COVID with an inordinately high percentage of deaths among the 650,000 Americans who have died over the last 18 months, the increasing pressure to get as many people vaccinated as possible is welcome news for them," Orestis said.

"As long as the threat to contract COVID lingers from a large population of unvaccinated people it is as if they are living with a gun to their heads," he continued. "The impact on seniors manifests in many ways such as ongoing isolation since this all began, fear of nursing homes and visiting other forms of health care, financial stress and food insecurity being driven by an uneven economy and rampant inflation, predation on seniors by scammers taking advantage of their isolation and insecurity, and now growing economic threats to the long-term financial safety net of Social Security."

Though Keller may continue to support the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, he accused the Biden Administration of "trampling on the rights of 80 million private sector workers and weaponizing the federal bureaucracy to impose government-sanctioned workplace discrimination on the basis of vaccination status."  

Protesters earlier this week at Geisinger Health in Danville marched in support of their individual rights against their employer's mandate. Geisinger has given employees a November 1 deadline to vaccinate. A few participants at the demonstration on Tuesday said they had already left their positions with Geisinger over the mandate.

Related reading: Protests over Geisinger vaccine mandate while state doubles down on vaccine support

According to The CDC's Covid Data Tracker by county, as of Sept. 16 vaccination and percent Covid positivity rates are as follows:

Bradford -- 1 dose: 40.9 %; fully 35.8%; percent positivity 8.36%

Centre -- 1 dose 60.8%; fully 52.3%; percent positivity 9.03%

Clinton -- 1 dose 43%; fully 37.4%; percent positivity 6.86%

Columbia -- 1 dose 60.4%; fully 53.6%; percent positivity 9.44%

Lycoming -- 1 dose 51.2%; fully 45.5%; percent positivity 12.33%

Montour -- 1 dose 73.3%; fully 67.5%; percent positivity 8.56%

Northumberland -- 1 dose 57.9%; 51.3%; percent positivity 10.45%

Potter -- 1 dose 29.1%; fully 28.1%; percent positivity 10.05%

Snyder -- 1 dose 47.3%; fully 39.3%; percent positivity 8.64%

Sullivan -- 1 dose 66.6%; fully 42.2%; percent positivity 6.08%

Tioga -- 1 dose 40.4%; fully 37.6%; percent positivity 10.79%

Union -- 1 dose 57.9%; fully 51.1%; percent positivity 8.9%

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