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Vaccine requirements a slippery slope

Serving as your state representative, I have many opportunities to meet with my fellow Northeast Michiganders across our district to discuss issues important to them.

Lately, one of the most popular topics concerns COVID-19 vaccinations.

Not surprisingly, popular consensus in our region is that choosing whether to receive the vaccine should be left up to the individual.

The amount of Michigan’s population that has received at least one dose of vaccine is approaching 65%. While easy access to the vaccine is great news for many, we must realize that not every person is going to choose to receive it.

We must explore solutions that effectively govern amidst that reality.

We have seen instances across the country where units of government are involving themselves with this personal choice through the concept of a “vaccine passport” — declaring where one can and cannot go based on whether or not individuals have received the vaccine.

Recently, the Michigan House advanced my bill which would ban government entities in Michigan from issuing, producing, or requiring such a passport. The legislation protects individual liberties and respects the personal choice people and their families are making.

Unfortunately, it now seems jobs may be at risk, in addition to our freedom of movement.

The Henry Ford Health System recently announced they will be requiring staff and volunteers to receive the vaccine. The mandate will take effect Sept. 10, and, outside of very rare exceptions, those who don’t get it will see their livelihoods impacted.

I am strongly opposed to that requirement and I have introduced legislation prohibiting certain vaccinations as a condition for employment.

Additionally, I am exploring legislation preventing any employer from requiring vaccinations for drugs that have not been approved and licensed by the Food and Drug Administration. The announcement from Henry Ford is likely the start of a trend, not an outlier.

The fact is that there are many issues that should be considered by the entities putting those conditions for employment in place.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently looked at reports of heart complications among teens and young adults after they were immunized with either a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Problems have been reported with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, as well.

Those statements are not meant to discredit the vaccine or vaccine efforts. People are choosing to get them in droves because they feel it is what’s right to do from a health standpoint, but we must respect everyone who is making what they feel is the best health decision for themselves and their families.

A heavy-handed approach to try and force people to take the vaccine is not the answer. It is divisive and a dangerous overreach. It has created an environment where people are worried about potentially losing their jobs, being told where they can and cannot go, or where their children can and cannot go.

I remain committed to protecting individual liberties in a proactive fashion, instead of putting them under assault over a personal choice.

State Rep. Sue Allor, R-Wolverine, represents the 106th state House District covering Alpena, Presque Isle, Alcona, and Iosco counties and part of Cheboygan County.

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