Companies that are mandating COVID-19 vaccines for their employees are making a mistake, as individual responsibility must be respected when it comes to making health decisions, Sen. Ted Cruz argued Thursday.
"My view on COVID, it is a serious disease," the Texas Republican said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "We, as a country, have taken extraordinary steps. We've also imposed enormous harms on our economy and people's lives and livelihoods and families. We need to balance those appropriately."
Cruz said he, his wife, and their parents have gotten their shots, and he does encourage people to get vaccinated as well, but he also believes in "individual freedom."
"I don't think anyone should make you take the vaccine," said Cruz. "You should be able to make your own medical decision with your doctor. I have faith they will weigh with pros and cons and make a determination whether or not to take the vaccine."
He added that it has been "very troubling" seeing Democrats like President Joe Biden announcing vaccine mandates, including Mayor Bill de Blasio's comments about New York City businesses requiring shot records, and with Biden "announcing he's making our military take vaccines."
He noted that there has already been some litigation about shot mandates for businesses, but it has not been successful, but he's introduced legislation that will provide civil rights protections for employers on the issue.
"How would you feel if CNBC had a series of medical procedures they demanded you do as a standard of your employment?" he asked show co-anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin. "You would understandably be dismayed. You may make a decision in consultation with your doctor about the things that make sense but it is not your employer's job to force it on you."
Cruz also argued that there should be no mask mandates, COVID "passports," or other measures that mean "a regime where the government says show us your papers if you want to do the basic things of life. There is a lot of self-righteousness in this argument, the argument that those unvaccinated are the unworthy, unwashed reckless people."
And, he added, as he has had his vaccine, "I believe in them and encourage people to voluntarily take it. If somebody doesn't take the vaccine, they pose relatively little threat to me or someone else that is vaccinated. They may pose a threat to someone else unvaccinated. They made that choice. If you smoke cigarettes, we give people [the opportunity] to make decisions about their own health even if they don't approve."
Meanwhile, restaurants and stores are able to have mask policies, because customers don't have to frequent those places if they don't want to, said Cruz, but mandates for schools are different.
"The public school is a government force," he said. "The government is forcing you to do it. When it comes to masking in schools, that is one of the most profoundly anti-science recommendations you've seen."
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