House Democrat Won't Meet In-Person With Unvaccinated Constituents U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., speaks during a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee. (Jacquelyn Martin – Pool/Getty Images)
By Nicole Wells | Wednesday, 02 February 2022 06:35 PM
Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell has reportedly created her own vaccine mandate, requiring that a person be fully vaccinated to meet in-person with the Democratic congresswoman or her staff.
An email sent by Sewell's office that offered free snacks in her Washington, D.C. office included a disclaimer that read "Proof of COVID-19 vaccinations are required for every in-person or in-office meeting with the Congresswoman or with staff," The Spectator reported.
The magazine confirmed with the congresswoman's office "that Rep. Sewell's office has a vaccine mandate for official visits and in-person meetings. Her district offices in Alabama have the same policy."
Sewell's policy could hamstring many of her constituents' efforts to meet with her, as only 49.5% of Alabama residents are fully vaccinated, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"I understand why so many have concerns about the vaccine given the legacy of distrust created by the federal govt.," Sewell tweeted in May 2021. "But I know this for a fact: The vaccine has been rigorously tested. It is safe, it is effective, & it will protect you and your loved ones."
In October, WAFF 48 reported that the congresswoman tried to encourage vaccination in her state, saying, "This is a life-or-death situation, and it requires leadership. And President Biden is showing that leadership."
Sewell told WTVM-TV in November that she supports President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
"Vaccinations are our pathway out of this pandemic, but the reality is that Alabama continues to have one of the highest COVID-19 death rates in the nation and among the lowest vaccination rates," she said. "While we must be innovative and bold in our approach to combatting low vaccination rates, we should also be mindful of the impact it has on small businesses, many of whom are already struggling to survive."
In a 6-3 decision last month, the Supreme Court found that the rule affecting large businesses, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, was not an ordinary use of federal power, Reuters reported.
"It is instead a significant encroachment on the lives – and health – of a vast number of employees," the court said. "Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life – simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock – would significantly expand OSHA's regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization.”