The Bulletin Board

Sununu signs pair of bills related to vaccine mandates, vetoes ivermectin legislation

By: - June 27, 2022 11:42 am
Gov. Chris Sununu

Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed House Bill 1022, regarding the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19. (Courtesy)

Gov. Chris Sununu handed anti-mandate and pro-ivermectin advocates a mixed bag Friday. 

He signed House Bill 1604, requiring state-run hospitals and county nursing homes to grant medical and religious exemption requests to their vaccine mandates, eliminating their ability to evaluate each request for merit. 

He also signed House Bill 1495, which prohibits the state from requiring businesses to adopt vaccine mandates, something that has not been proposed. 

However, Sununu vetoed House Bill 1022, dashing the hopes of those who believe ivermectin treats COVID-19 and should be made readily available.

The bill, which passed the Legislature along party lines, would have allowed pharmacists to dispense the drug under a standing order without prescription, just as they can with medication for smoking cessation; naloxone, to reverse an opioid overdose; and contraception, including emergency contraception.

In his veto message, Sununu said those medications went through rigorous reviews and vetting prior to being available by standing order. Ivermectin should be subject to the same process, he wrote. 

The bill requiring vaccine exemption requests to be granted initially included exemptions for broad and undefined “conscience” reasons. That provision was dropped after lawmakers learned keeping it could have cost the state and counties $160 million in Medicaid and Medicare funding because the federal government does not recognize a conscience objection.

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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. Email: [email protected]