Bill addresses employees who choose not to get the vaccine

MARYLAND – Top health officials in the U.S. are making a push, for everyone to get vaccinated. However, the reality is not everyone is okay with getting the vaccine. In response, Lawmakers are pushing for legislation that would protect those employees and their choice.

Specifically House Bill 1171, which would not allow employers to fire an employee if they choose not to get the vaccine. Some people believe everyone should get the vaccine, while others believe it’s a personal choice. “Those two sides collide over whether the bill should move forward or it should not move forward,” says state Delegate, Johnny Mautz who sits on the economic matters committee where the bill currently is.

Del. Mautz says, everyone’s personal health should be a choice, and this legislation would ensure employees of that choice. “Understanding that the vaccine is very important, but every individual has his or her own health considerations and they know those considerations better than anyone.”

Meanwhile Doctor Kathryn Fiddler, Vice President of Population Health at TidalHealth says “But we’re in a pandemic and we want to get on the other side so I do think building trust, there’s a lot of history and research especially among the marginalized and vulnerable population and it’s important to recognize that.” TidalHealth says they’ve made efforts to promote the vaccine, and provide people with education about it.

According to physicians, only 75-80% of people get the flu vaccine, so this being a newer vaccine, they say they expect some hesitancy. However, this bill would simply give workers a piece of mind if they aren’t willing to get the vaccine. However, those who work on the health side of things would ideally like to see everyone vaccinated somewhere down the road.  “It’s exciting to see the joy for a change, especially now that spring is coming up but I say let’s harness that and get everybody vaccinated and get on the other side,” says Dr. Fiddler.

Del. Mautz also tells 47 ABC, as long as the bill makes it out of the house, it has a greater chance of passing the senate. The bill also states that an employer won’t be held liable for an employee who chose not to get the vaccine.

The bill is currently in the economic committee. Del. Mautz also says, with this being the first year of virtual hearings, there is an extension date for voting so more bills can potentially be voted on such as this one.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, Local Politics, Maryland