Lawmakers move to exempt previously infected employees from COVID vaccine mandates in the workplace

“For the reason that starting of COVID … issues have modified dramatically with regard to the best way the virus operates,” the invoice’s sponsor mentioned.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Rep. Jefferson Burton, R-Salem, sponsor of HB63, which amends provisions associated to COVID-19 within the office, presents earlier than the Senate Well being and Human Providers Committee on the Capitol in Salt Lake Metropolis on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022.

A invoice that may exempt workers from COVID-19 vaccine mandates if they’ve a well being care supplier’s be aware that claims they have been beforehand contaminated with the virus handed the Senate Well being and Human Providers committee on Wednesday on a party-line 4-2 vote.

The invoice’s sponsor, state Rep. Jefferson Burton, referred to as the proposed laws, HB63, a “cleanup invoice” in reference to an analogous invoice the Utah Legislature handed final yr that barred employers from mandating vaccines within the office and required them to pay for testing.

“For the reason that starting of COVID … issues have modified dramatically with regard to the best way the virus operates,” the Salem Republican mentioned. “It was felt that these adjustments wanted to be made based mostly on these situations.”

The invoice would additionally prohibit employers from maintaining or sustaining an worker’s COVID-19 check outcomes except required by legislation. Beneath the invoice, employers can not refuse to rent potential workers or terminate an worker attributable to their vaccine standing.

Jay Dortzbach, who spoke in help of the invoice through the committee listening to, claimed he was not too long ago fired from KSL TV, a neighborhood media station, after refusing to share his medical info along with his employer. He advised that the invoice must also exempt employers from testing workers for the virus.

“Lower than three months in the past, I used to be terminated from my employment as a result of I’d not share my medical info, nor conform to take a (COVID-19) check each week,” he mentioned. “I don’t want any of my neighbors to undergo the agonizing alternative of shedding both a job or a proper.”

A consultant for KSL TV didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

In response to Dortzbach, state Sen. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, famous that the invoice won’t defend workers who’ve signed clauses adhering to an employer’s medical requirements.

“That’s a nuance that I feel lots of people don’t take into consideration. And despite the fact that you may need these rights, in the event you’ve signed an settlement, you may need forgone these rights,” he mentioned.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sen. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, ask a query of a constituent talking in help of HB63, which amends provisions associated to COVID-19 within the office, throughout a presentation earlier than the Senate Well being and Human Providers Committee on the Capitol in Salt Lake Metropolis on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022.

A overview of three vaccine efficacy trials and 4 research discovered “no important distinction” between COVID-19 immunity offered by an infection versus vaccination, based on the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Outcomes from the Workplace of Nationwide Statistics survey in the UK that analyzed greater than 26,000 RT-PCR COVID-positive assessments discovered “full vaccination” offered the most effective safety through the Alpha variant surge and equal safety to an infection through the delta variant surge.

Nonetheless, well being professionals suggest that people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 get vaccinated.

“COVID-19 vaccination causes a extra predictable immune response than an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine offers most individuals a excessive stage of safety towards COVID-19 and might present added safety for individuals who already had COVID-19,” based on the CDC’s web site.

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