Proposals to allow for COVID-19 vaccine exceptions dies in Va. General Assembly committee

Virginia Politics

FILE – In this Monday, July 27, 2020 file photo, a nurse prepares a shot as a study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway in Binghamton, N.Y. Who gets to be first in line for a COVID-19 vaccine? U.S. health authorities hope by late next month to have some draft guidance on how to ration initial doses, but it’s a vexing decision. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A committee in Virginia’s legislature has halted legislation that would create exceptions for people who don’t want to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Roanoke Times reported Tuesday that the proposal was defeated in the House of Delegates’ Democratically controlled Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee.

Proposals from Republican Delegates Mark Cole and David LaRock would have created exceptions. The measure included exceptions for religious reasons as well as for people who don’t want to receive a mandated vaccine during a public health emergency.

One proposal also would have prevented the state health commissioner from requiring people to take vaccines during a public health epidemic.

Dr. Norman Oliver, Virginia’s health commissioner, caused a recent stir when he told WRIC that he would mandate COVID-19 vaccinations. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s office said afterward that he did not plan for the state government to mandate vaccinations.

A federally approved vaccine currently does not exist. But researchers have been working to develop one.

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