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NEWS

LA Lawmakers Vote Against Governor's School Vaccine Mandate

Nurse with Vax
Courtesy: Pixabay Public Domain
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LA LAWMAKERS AGAINST GOV VAX MANDATE — A bipartisan group of Louisiana lawmakers on the House healthcare committee has voted against Gov. John Bel Edwards’ coronavirus vaccine mandate for students age 16 years and older as that’s currently the age group given full approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry and the Edwards administration are at odds over whether the COVID-19 vaccine requirement can be legally enacted by the governor without support from the full Legislature. Landry had this to say before the committee:

"The Louisiana Constitution provides for a separation of powers from three branches of government and provides that none of these shall exercise the power belonging to the other," Landry explained. "Although the legislature in exercising its constitutional vested power, may delegate the responsibility to the agency, it must have the ability to call that power back when need."

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Courtesy: LA House Archive Video
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Jeff Landry, Attorney General for Louisiana

Louisiana allows the state department of health to make vaccine recommendations. Monday's hearing was packed with parents and with Republican lawmakers who spoke in opposition to the vaccination rule. Presentations were peppered with questionable information regarding vaccine science and efficacy against the spread of disease. Dr. Joe Kanter who heads the Louisiana Department of Health said such inaccuracies cause great harm.

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Courtesy: LA House Archive Video
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Dr. Joe Kanter, State Health Officer and Medical Director for Louisiana Department of Health

"The effort to save lives in this unprecedented pandemic is hindered by unintentional promotion of myths and misinformation and the deliberate propagation of intentional disinformation," Kanter said. "As a practicing emergency physician, I can tell you firsthand of the patients I have cared for who fell victim to mis and disinformation and some who gave the ultimate price."

Students in Louisiana are required to be immunized against certain diseases before attending K-12 schools, daycare centers, and colleges, Currently, the state allows broad exemptions for parents and students who can submit a written dissent even if the coronavirus shots are mandated. Governor Edwards intends to overrule Monday's rejection and enact the immunization requirement starting next year. However, the fate of the plan seems likely to be determined by the courts.