On Tuesday, the Georgia Senate passed a bill that would prevent the mandatory use of the coronavirus vaccination in public schools and other state and municipal institutions.
As a result of a vote of 31 to 21, the Georgia Senate has approved Senate Bill 1. Healthcare providers the federal government already requires to vaccinate their staff to receive federal funding would be exempt from the bill’s provisions.
Last year, a moratorium on mandatory vaccinations was passed; if this bill passed, the restriction would be permanent.
The bill’s primary supporter, Republican state senator Greg Dolezal, explained that Georgians have already endured a year under the previous version of this law, which is slated to expire this summer; therefore, the legislature will remove the sunset provision and guarantee that local governments in the state would never again withhold services to their citizens because of the latter group’s decision not to vaccinate against COVID-19.
According to Dolezal, the government shouldn’t “discriminate against citizens” based on whether or not they’ve had their recommended vaccinations.
On June 30, 2022, the current ban, which was passed a year earlier, will come to an end.
Senator Nan Orrock of the Democrats has stated that they are aware of a growing campaign in the United States to discredit vaccinations in the name of personal liberty.
Nan said that legislators who supported the new laws were effectively endorsing the anti-vaccination movement and limiting government response options if the spread of COVID-19 worsened.
The bill forbids higher education institutions and local governments from requesting vaccination records from students.
Republican Senator Ben Watson, a physician, said that the virus’s diminished severity negates the necessity for a mandate.
In recent times, the Biden administration has pushed back on Republican efforts to abolish the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for overseas visitors flying into the U.S., citing the need to restrict the spread of the coronavirus and avoid placing a strain on the country’s healthcare system.
This comes as Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) has been advocating to repeal the requirement for outbound foreign aviation passengers and as the administration has signaled its intention to maintain its current policy.
Last month, Massie submitted HR 185, which would nullify a CDC directive announced in April 2022 barring international visitors to the United States without confirmation of vaccination against the coronavirus.
Although the administration still stands by the policy, it has said it would use scientific evidence to inform “any termination or modification” of the program.
On the other side, Democrats argue that while COVID-19 is less deadly now, there is no guarantee that this will always be the case due to immunizations and other public safety efforts.
The bill will be considered in the state legislature next.
Dolezal has stated that he will file a separate bill to end the five-year restriction on mask regulations in schools permanently.