AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — In the fight against COVID-19, a vaccine against it could be considered the holy grail. But should you have a choice whether you receive any immunizations that become available? Lawmakers are making sure that you do.
There are a number of vaccines already being studied in humans at sites across the country including Emory University in Atlanta.”There are at least eight candidate COVID-19 vaccines in clinical development. The NIH has been collaborating with a number of pharmaceutical companies at various stages of development,” Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
But as these vaccines are fast-tracked, some have concerns over their rights as citizens. “I’m a liberty-loving legislator and so are most South Carolinians. They liked their Liberty. The idea that they would have mandatory vaccinations for COVID-19 doesn’t sit well with most people,” State Representative Bill Taylor told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.
Representative Taylor co-sponsored a bill in the Statehouse responding to the worry.
“Any vaccination offered by the Department of Health and Environmental Control as part of any mass immunization project to protect against infectious disease, or to prevent the spread of a pandemic or a contagious or possibly contagious disease, only may be administered to those individuals who do not opt-out of the vaccination based on a medically diagnosed health condition or religious belief or practice.”SC House Bill Number 5489
It takes effect by the Governor’s approval.
This is not the first time the state legislature took up the issue of immunizations. Representative Taylor said that in the past, it caused quite a stir. “I will tell you every time it comes up, there is an uprising from constituents to say, make them voluntary. Do not force me to do this,” he recalled.
We’ve learned public concern over possible adverse effects of vaccines has circulated since the time of the first smallpox vaccine in 1796. We’ve even seen it in recent history. “Just remember the history back in the mid-seventies, there was the swine flu. At that time, the president said that every man, woman, and child should be inoculated didn’t work out so well, lots of people died and others were paralyzed,” Representative Taylor said.
As far as treatments go, there’s only one that’s been shown to work against COVID-19 with Remdesivir knocking off days of a hospital stay. “A vaccine for COVID-19 is off a bit,” he said. “Many are in process. We don’t know which one works, or if any of them will actually work because they’ve never found vaccines for some of these viruses. So let’s take our time. Let’s figure it out,” he added.
Meanwhile, Representative Taylor says that we may not see any movement on House Bill Number 5489 but lawmakers will respond to that if it comes to it.”Because of the virus, the legislative session is very short and disruptive this year, and I doubt this would pass this year, but it certainly will be pre-filed in December. I would think that in by January or February, it will be well debated and I expect it to be passed by the legislature,” he expects.
The legislature ended its regular session earlier this week. Special sessions are planned for the future.