Bills would ban vaccine mandates, mRNA vaccines in ND

Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 5:14 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Lawmakers heard two bills Tuesday that, if passed, would have huge implications for most of the population in the state.

Doctors say vaccines are vital to public health in North Dakota.

“Maintaining high rates of routine wellness vaccination is necessary to keep North Dakotans protected against vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Dr. Nizar Wehbi, chief medical officer for the state of North Dakota.

But two bills in the State Legislature could significantly impact public health if passed: the first is House Bill 1505, which would be a massive change to current public health policy.

“This bill is being introduced as a prohibition on vaccine mandates,” said Representative Scott Louser, R-Minot.

And some people think that’s a great idea.

“I believe that we should all have our own choices to make for medical treatments, whatever we need and feel is appropriate and safe for ourselves and our families,” said Lisa Pulkrabek from Mandan.

Others say, without vaccine mandates, unvaccinated and not-yet-vaccinated individuals — like young children — are susceptible to preventable diseases.

“Columbus, Ohio is responding to a measles outbreak. That included 85 cases, 36 of which were hospitalized. None of the cases occurred in fully vaccinated children,” said Dr. Wehbi.

The second bill is Senate Bill 2384, which would prohibit anyone from administering mRNA vaccines in North Dakota. Proponents say more research needs to be done.

“The studies on mRNA vaccines are not near the robust studies that they should be, and furthermore, I don’t believe that they’re actually looking to find problems,” said Steve Nagel, a chiropractor from Mandan.

But the bill aimed at banning shots like the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines was challenged by lawmakers with medical experience, like Senator Kristen Roers, who says during the initial wave of the pandemic, it was clear the vaccine was helping people.

“I could predict within 100% accuracy which patients had a vaccine without looking at their chart, based on how well they were doing,” said Senator Roers, R-Fargo.

Neither committee acted on these bills Tuesday.

These aren’t the only anti-vaccine bills this session. Others would prohibit requiring them for higher ed students and require more documentation of adverse vaccine event data.