Joe Biden may be planning to roll out a door-to-door vaccine initiative but New Hampshire has no plans to participate, says Gov. Chris Sununu.
On Saturday, state Senate president Chuck Morse (R-Salem) announced his opposition to President Joe Biden’s door-to-door vax plan. Now, New Hampshire’s top Republicans have joined him.
“Last week, the Biden administration suggested they may begin a door-to-door campaign targeting Americans who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19,” Morse posted on his Facebook page. “While I agree that we should encourage everyone that wants to be vaccinated to get vaccinated, this type of invasion of our privacy is not acceptable. We all have a right to keep our medical histories private, and this feels like an intimidation tactic that the government should not be getting involved in.”
Morse was responding to a proposal from Biden, who said last week, “We need to go community-by-community, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, and oft-times door-to-door, literally knocking on doors” to get people vaccinated.
On Tuesday, Speaker of the House Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry) added his voice to the opposition.
“This type of political strong-arm tactic would not be well received by citizens of the Granite State,” Packard said in a statement. “Legislators in New Hampshire will continue the fight to protect patients’ privacy and fight against federal overreach. We are well on our way to getting families and businesses back on track. Vaccines are available to those wishing to get vaccinated, and this idea of going door-to-door to private homes is not something we would ever consider or welcome here.”
Gov. Sununu told NHJournal the Granite State is not on board.
“The state has no plans to participate in the federal government’s door-to-door initiative,” Sununu said in a statement. “And the federal government has not reached out to the state of NH to notify us of any plans to do so here — likely due to our successful vaccine roll-out.
“We continue to work closely with our health care partners to ensure the vaccine is easy to get for all who make that choice for themselves. We encourage everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine to protect themselves and their neighbors, and if they have questions or concerns, to speak with their health care provider.”
Nationally, the prospect of federally-funded government representatives going door-to-door to discuss the vaccination status of private citizens has sparked a backlash among many Republicans and libertarian-leaning Americans.
“Constitutionality notwithstanding, unless this specific activity was authorized by Congress, it’s illegal,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said last week. “If the president truly believes the most transmissible variants are now circulating, why is he sending possible vectors of the disease to people’s houses?”
Why would Biden to propose such an intrusive effort that the administration had to know would inspire resistance? Desperation.
“The Biden administration is running out of ideas for jumpstarting the pace of coronavirus vaccinations,” Politico reported Monday. “Even as President Joe Biden vows a ‘neighborhood-by-neighborhood vaccination effort, a half-dozen federal and state officials working on the COVID-19 response acknowledged … that there are few remaining options to try.”
Whatever the motive, Biden has yet to receive any pushback from New Hampshire Democrats. None of the four members of the Granite State’s all-Democrat D.C. delegation would respond to repeated questions about whether they support Biden’s door-knocking initiative. Sen. Maggie Hassan, who faces a difficult re-election bid next year, has notably avoided mentioning the Biden plan in public or on her social media accounts.
Some New Hampshire Democrats have, however, taken to social media to mock Republicans for what abortion-rights supporters believe is a hypocritical double-standard on privacy.
“So, mandatory ultrasounds are good, vaccination outreach efforts are bad? Interesting,” state Sen. Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua) re-tweeted.
Meanwhile, Republican strategists believe Biden has made a political blunder in New Hampshire, a state where Democrats have already lost the Statehouse and are all but certain to lose at least one — and should Gov. Chris Sununu run for the U.S. Senate, two — of their four federal legislative seats.
“Opposing this is smart politics for Sen. Morse and the Republicans,” said veteran GOP strategist Dave Carney. “To New Hampshire voters, this is just more Democrat massive government exploitation bubbling up from Washington, D.C.”
On Monday, Morse reiterated his opposition. “This is just another example of Washington being out of touch with New Hampshire values,” he told NHJournal. “We value our privacy and they just can’t seem to understand that.”
House Majority Leader Rep. Jason Osborne (R-Auburn) agrees.
“The Biden administration has made it abundantly clear they are not shy about intruding on Americans’ right to medical privacy,” Osborne said. “Granite Staters exercising their right to refuse a medical treatment should not be subject to an intimidation campaign at their doorstep.
“When the government tries to intrude on our households, it is up to us to slam the door in their face.”