Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has given a full-throated endorsement to Governor Charlie Baker's vaccine mandate for some state employees. Appearing on Boston National Public Radio affiliate WGBH, Healey said "It's the right move." Asked if demanding proof of vaccination is legal, Healey responded, "It's absolutely legal in my view."

Baker announced last week that all executive department employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and be prepared to prove it. Healey imposed a vaccine mandate for her own staff and feels comfortable with the legality of it. "I just don't expect there to be any issues with it, nor do I think it is onerous," she said.

While admitting the viral outbreak has placed everyone in "unchartered territory," she said, "The vaccine is out there, the FDA has approved it and that's why I think we see not only government agencies but...venues and businesses and employers just generally moving in the direction of taking the steps to require folks to be vaccinated."

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As for vaccine passports, Healey indicated that it is too soon to say if they are warranted but says "we should be open to doing that."

It appears as though the U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for mandatory vaccinations. Justice Amy Coney Barrett recently issued a decision upholding the University of Indiana's vaccine mandate for students and staff. An opt-out for religious and medical reasons seems to make the difference.

I am troubled that private employers, college administrators, and politicians can unilaterally impose a vaccination mandate and threaten you with your job or exclude you should you refuse. What happened to individual rights regarding our bodies?

I am even more troubled that Healey and others would even consider a vaccine passport here in Massachusetts that could sharply restrict your movements, threaten you with fines, and possible imprisonment if you fail to show your papers upon demand. That is exactly what is happening in Paris right now.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said the time to stand up and resist is now. Senator Paul may be right.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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