The Bulletin Board

Study committee issues recommendations on medical intervention and immunization laws

By: - November 12, 2021 12:13 pm
State house

The committee report encouraged members of the House and Senate to act quickly on the more than 30 COVID-19 related bills they’ll see this session. (Dana Wormald | New Hampshire Bulletin)

After six days of testimony from state officials, health care leaders, business organizations, and more than 50 members of the public, a legislative study committee charged with looking at medical intervention and immunization laws has two recommendations for lawmakers. 

Employers, its report said, should be required to grant any request for a medical, religious, or conscientious objector exemption from a vaccine mandate. Employers currently must offer medical and religious exemptions but have discretion in granting them. 

And, members of the House and Senate are encouraged to act quickly on the more than 30 COVID-19 related bills they’ll see this session, many of them seeking limits on public health measures.

The Committee to Examine Policy on Medical Interventions Including Immunizations issued its report this week following a second day of public input. An overwhelming majority of people spoke against vaccine mandates or the COVID-19 vaccine itself. The committee of House and Senate members devoted most of its report to findings. 

In its report, the committee said federal vaccine mandates for private employers, health care workers, and federal contracts will exacerbate the workforce shortage and supply chain issues. It also faulted the current practice of gaining a person’s consent to receive a vaccine, saying it is not enough to ask if the person has read warnings about the vaccine. That alone, the report said, does not protect people who are getting a vaccine only because their employer requires it. 

The committee expressed support for the state’s legal challenges to the vaccine mandates and the state Department of Health and Human Services decision not to pursue mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for school-age children. 

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications.