State Government

State House vax passport for legislators, staff, maybe general public under consideration

Recommendation to be discussed Wednesday, Dec. 15

By Guy Page

The Vermont Legislature’s Joint Rules Committee (JRC) will discuss 3 pm Wednesday a recommendation to require vaccination or a PCR test for all lawmakers and staff seeking entry into the State House.

Currently, only the masking policy is in place, and it applies to all legislators, staff, and members of the public. The Joint Rules Committee’s draft vax-or-test policy is currently drafted to only apply to legislators and legislative staff, JRC member Randy Brock told Vermont Daily Chronicle today. 

“JRC has not yet taken a vote on the vax-or-test policy draft,” the Franklin County senator and Senate Minority Leader said. “It is still in the committee discussion phase.”

The Speaker of the House asked JRC to obtain feedback from other legislators on this policy in advance of Wed.’s meeting.

During JRC’s general discussion of the Leg.’s 2022 reopening plan, the issue was raised that the current draft vax-or-test policy does not apply to the public.  Those “reopening plan” questions will be addressed Wednesday by Dr. Timothy Lahey of the UVM Medical Center, JRC’s health expert witness. “I anticipate JRC will further discuss that specific question on Wednesday,” Brock said. 

Brock weighed in with his own opinion:

“I think there are real questions about whether it is appropriate to apply some of these provisions to the public. As we look at public access to other facilities, such as hospitals and state offices, such as DMV and the Courts, we do not apply vaccine or testing requirements.  Perhaps it is reasonable to look at whether a potential visitor is symptomatic or has a fever, for example.”

Rep. Vicki Strong made it clear that, vaccine mandate or no, she will not be getting vaccinated or submit to PCR testing in order to enter the building. In an Dec. 9 email to VDC, she noted “there will most likely be a requirement to have proof of vaccination or take a PCR test before getting into the State House in January. I will not be doing either of those things so we will see how this all plays out!”

Sen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia) agreed with Strong’s assessment of likely vax mandates for lawmakers, noting in a Dec. 9 email that increases in Covid hospitalizations and ICU bed occupancy are driving the Democratic majority’s sense of urgency. 

“I suspect Vicki is right, that there will be proof of vaccination or a test for entry,” Benning said. “Unfortunately both hospitalizations and ICU Covid beds have almost doubled since my speech on the Senate floor two weeks ago.  That undermines any willingness of the majority to listen.”

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21 replies »

  1. fail to see a need for vaccine that neither stops you from transmitting virus nor from contracting virus. virus is to help yourself and not to do anything to stop transmission. do not think masks make much difference but if they want you to wear one indoors so be it

    • Russell,

      1. The logic that because an action doesn’t prevent something 100% of the time so therefore we shouldn’t do it doesn’t make sense to me. There is almost nothing out there than can provide 100% protection, however we still use these <100% safety measures all the time to reduce our risk of adverse events. Examples include: contraception, seat belts, and helmets. Also, the vaccines were never advertised as providing 100% results in the first place so I'm not sure why you have added that qualifier to them now.

      2. While the vaccines do not stop you from contracting the virus, the latest data I can find shows that unvaccinated individuals have infection rates ~3.4x that of vaccinated individuals:

      "During the July–September 2021 surveillance period, SARS-CoV-2 infection occurred among 4,146 of 137,616 unvaccinated persons (30.1 per 1,000 persons) and 3,009 of 344,848 fully vaccinated persons (8.7 per 1,000). Incidence was higher among unvaccinated persons than among vaccinated persons across all demographic strata. Unvaccinated persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection were more than twice as likely to receive ED care (18.5%) or to be hospitalized (9.0%) than were vaccinated persons with COVID-19 (8.1% and 3.9%, respectively). The crude mortality rate was also higher among unvaccinated patients (0.43 per 1,000) than in fully vaccinated patients (0.06 per 1,000)."

      Source – https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7037e1.htm?s_cid=mm7037e1_w (please read and note limitations)

      3. Holding transmissivity rates equal across vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, a population that has ~3.4x greater infection rates would also have greater transmission capacity, because vaccinated individuals aren't getting infected in the first place.

      I think transmission research data is still in its infancy. This study still needs a peer review and additional confirmation so note that these results can change but this estimated study found that:

      "Our results indicate that vaccination confers protection against onward transmission from vaccinated index cases, albeit somewhat less for Delta than for Alpha. Vaccine effectiveness against transmission to unvaccinated household contacts is stronger than to vaccinated household contacts, with the latter already largely protected from infection, and especially from severe disease, by their own vaccine-induced immunity, but differences in risk behavior may also play a role. Possible waning of vaccine effectiveness against infection and against onward transmission could result in increases in SARS-CoV-2 circulation among populations with high vaccine coverage. As full vaccination remains highly effective in preventing severe disease, also for Delta, a high vaccination coverage remains the key to control the COVID-19 pandemic "

      https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.10.14.21264959v1.full-text

      • It doesn’t matter what the transmission rate is Christian. It doesn’t even matter if the vaccinated or non-vaccinated are dropping like flies (they are NOT).

        It’s OUR CHOICE. Not yours. If we want to brave the world then we will, and if we choose to do it without taking an experiment or even an approved treatment then so be it.

        That’s the way it is, and if you don’t like it that’s too bad. I will not be coerced into doing anything I don’t feel is right because I am an American, a Vermonter, and most importantly a living man.

        The bottom line is that it’s my life to do as I choose.

      • This is not an allegation that you advocate for forced vaccination, Christian. But you are citing false dichotomies.

        First: No one here is proposing that 100% protection be the criteria for being forced to take a vaccine or not take it. The question is, who draws the line and where do they draw it?

        Second: Should only infection rates be the criteria for requiring vaccinations? What about death rates? Are you aware that the latest VT DOH data indicates that unvaccinated people are no more likely to die of Covid than are vaccinated people? https://vtdigger.org/2021/12/03/vermont-ends-november-with-record-breaking-streak-of-severe-covid-outcomes/

        Are you aware that while no Vermont child under the age of 18 was vaccinated until a couple of weeks ago – only 6 have been hospitalized and none died from Covid since the beginning of the pandemic? And now we’re requiring them to be vaccinated?

        Again, by what authority does the government draw these lines?

        Third: Vaccinated people ARE getting breakthrough infections at increasing rates. They are transmitting the virus to others. They are being hospitalized. They are dying. And the vaccines are proving to be less effective over time. How many boosters will it take?

        What ‘rates’ are acceptable? Who decides? What about the risk of damage to one’s immune system caused by the ever increasing need for additional vaccination boosters? Are mere ‘estimates’ sufficient justification for forcing vaccinations?

        And, most importantly, if the vaccines are safe and effective, why are the government and the pharmaceutical companies maintaining the Emergency Use Authorization that exempts them from being liable for damages that may occur when forcing people to take these vaccines?

        These are legitimate questions. And there is nothing in our Constitution giving the government the authority to force mass vaccination, especially under these circumstances.

  2. As evidence of vaccine failure continues to pour in, the herd doubles down evermore on making the vax mandatory. That’s full-frontal insanity, right there. As is the inability to think outside the box and consider ANY other strategy.

    • I always think of a bunch of chickens running around, flapping and squawking in an other panic. Has anyone told them this virus is 99% survivable for most people?

  3. Dear Randy Brock and JRC,

    Evidence now shows us all that Covid Shots don’t work for immunity or contagiousness. Also, there are now many recorded Covid Shot Deaths and Injuries.

    Please explain to the Vermont Taxpayers who pay your paychecks, why you are pushing the ineffective, injurious, death causing Covid Shots to the point of considering a mandate for the People’s Statehouse of Vermont?

  4. Stay strong, Representative Vicki Strong and Senator Joe Benning. We are behind you. Thank you for your efforts to defend and protect our unalienable rights. You are among the few rare gems in our state house.

  5. I hope all the GOP contingent “Stand Strong with Vicki Stong” and conduct their business from make-do offices outside the State House, since she won’t be allowed inside. Maybe drag over a few duck blinds and some office chairs? A couple of RVs? That would be really great publicity for the Vermont GOP — “Look! Vermont Republicans DO exist!”

  6. I don’t get. It’s common knowledge for anyone with a brain that works that these vaxed people can carry more of a viral load in their nose and spread the virus to others. We see all of these protected people wearing masks now again because they can still get an infection after being injected with the mRNA poison. So the vax pushers say get the booster. Just reported that people with the Omicron scariant are all vaccinated. The CDC claims annual shots will be needed to protect you. They are up to 3 shots now. Doctors are reporting that these shots destroy the bodies immune system and that’s why it’s CYA for the state and the pushers of this poison. Leave the children alone, injecting them is destroying their immune systems and setting them up for future health problems. I hope there is a reckoning for these pushers of this experimental gene therapy. 176 athletes have been reported as dying from heart failure after injection. How many children will have to die before this stops?

  7. How nice would it be if the US and other countries were more like Japan?

    We found this on a Japan government website:
    “Consent to vaccination
    Although we encourage all citizens to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, it is not compulsory or mandatory. Vaccination will be given only with the consent of the person to be vaccinated after the information provided. Please get vaccinated of your own decision, understanding both the effectiveness in preventing infectious diseases and the risk of side effects. No vaccination will be given without consent. Please do not force anyone in your workplace or those who around you to be vaccinated, and do not discriminate against those who have not been vaccinated.

    ・Human Rights Counseling in foreign languages

    https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/covid-19/vaccine.html”

    Japan also has low Covid numbers and uses medicines that are largely prohibited in the US.

    Could Japan be ahead of the US in it’s democratic actions?

    Above info thanks to my friend Shawn McBride at the American Freedom Information Institute
    http://www.amfreedomii.com

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