CONCORD — The House on June 3 voted down a proposal to essentially ban public and private entities from requiring vaccinations from employees and others, or to enter facilities or a condition for housing.
Supporters said the provision would allow individuals to determine what enters his or her body, and not employers, government officials or business owners.
“My body, my choice,” said Rep. Terry Roy, R-Deerfield, “does not only apply to abortion.”
But opponents said someone’s private choice could affect other people’s health, and the ban would be expensive, medically unconscionable, and unnecessary.
“If someone refuses reasonable precautions,” said Rep. William Marsh, R-Wolfeboro, “do they have the right to go wherever they want and infect whoever they encounter?”
He also argued there is a more reasonable proposal in an upcoming bill that better addresses the issue without a near blanket ban on any requirement for a COVID vaccination and its unintended consequences.
The bill would not only apply to COVID-19 but to other vaccinations and would remove the authority of the commissioner of Health and Human Services from determining which vaccines school children need in order to attend public schools.
Marsh said measles are dangerous to pregnant women.
“If this becomes law,” he said, “it would be illegal for a pregnant mother to deny services to someone who might (bring) measles to her unborn child.”
The bill would also prohibit schools, colleges and universities from requiring vaccinations for students to return to campus this fall, as many have done.
Roy said he initially believed the idea of a vaccine passport was dead with both Gov. Chris Sununu and President Joe Biden saying they did not support the concepts.
But he said he heard of regular working people with regular jobs being terminated for not being vaccinated against COVID.
“Follow the money,” he said, and he learned embedded in American Rescue Act is a tax credit for employers who give employees time off to get the shot or who miss work from the side effects of the COVID shots.
Other employer benefits flow though OSHA and workmen’s comp for the vaccine, he said.
“What they failed to discuss is what do the people want,” Roy said. “Do we want to force our citizens to take an experimental vaccine every time a new virus rears its head?”
The vaccine section of the bill failed on a 193-182 vote, while the remainder of the bill was approved on a voice vote.
The bill goes back to the Senate because of the House changes.