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Public Health Professor: Research Shows Vaccine Mandates Work

Arizona is continuing to see a rise in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant.

The state health department recorded more than 2,200 new cases Aug. 4. And while the rate is lower than the first two waves in Arizona, it’s a sign of concern for both health officials and educators.

Two more school districts announced Aug. 3 they will require students to wear masks in the classroom in defiance of a new state law signed by the governor banning mask mandates.

The districts — Osborne and Roosevelt Elementary — joined one of the state’s largest, Phoenix Union High School District and the Phoenix Elementary School District in requiring masks indoors.

The Governor’s Office said these mandates are unenforceable under state law, and now a Phoenix biology teacher filed a lawsuit against Phoenix Union, arguing it doesn’t have the authority to issue the mandate.

An emergency court hearing is scheduled Aug. 4.

The same law Gov. Doug Ducey signed banning mask mandates also bans vaccine mandates in the public sphere.

But as the delta variant continues to spread across the state and the country, and it’s become clear that some so-called "breakthrough" cases can happen in vaccinated people, more private and public organizations are implementing them.

It’s a controversial turn that’s garnering as much pushback as it is momentum right now.

Many large healthcare organizations and hospitals announced vaccine mandates. Then, a slew of big businesses across the country followed suit in recent days — including Google, Disney and Walmart.

On Aug. 3, New York City announced it will require proof of vaccination to go to restaurants and gyms there.

And President Joe Biden announced last week that federal employees will have to attest to having been vaccinated or wear masks and submit to weekly testing.

Karen Mulligan says vaccine mandates work.

Mulligan is with the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy, and she recently wrote a paper analyzing the research behind vaccine mandates.

The Show spoke with her to learn about what she found.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.