Arizona Governor OK Ban on School COVID-19 Vaccines | Health

By BOB CHRISTIE – Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) — The Republican governor of Arizona has signed legislation that will prevent state health officials from adding a COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required school inoculations and face mask mandates in all buildings operated by state or local governments.

The two coronavirus bills signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey on Friday would permanently block disease mitigation measures that medical professionals say are essential to containing the coronavirus pandemic if the number of cases increases to new or if the virus mutates and becomes more deadly for children.

Banning face masks in libraries, courthouses and other public buildings could also affect efforts to stem the spread of a new airborne disease. Ducey’s office released no comments from the governor when he announced late Friday afternoon that he had signed both bills into law along with 18 others.

He touted signing the legislation requiring public K-12 schools to dedicate part of the 9/11 school day to teaching about the terrorist attacks that struck the country in 2001, and a bill prohibiting insurance companies from taking consider a dog’s breed when reviewing homeowner’s insurance claims.

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The coronavirus measures were the latest moves by majority GOP lawmakers to limit what they called government overreach. All House and Senate Republicans voted for the measures, and minority Democrats were unanimous in opposition.

Ducey already has signed multiple pieces of legislation this year targeting virus restrictions. One would prevent schools from requiring students to wear masks unless their parents give explicit consent and another would prevent government entities from requiring employees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations.

These are major reversals from the virus restrictions that Ducey supported at the start of the pandemic before joining many other Republican politicians in vocally opposing terms. He ordered the closure of businessesPublished orders requiring the wearing of masks in public schools and did not object when municipalities and county governments issued mask mandates in the first year of the pandemic.

Most government buildings, including courthouses, had mask mandates in place for much of the pandemic before easing them in recent months.

The introduction of COVID-19 vaccinations is credited with limiting death and serious illness, but opponents of the mandate say personal choice should trump government mandates.

The bill prohibiting the state Department of Health Services from adding a COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required school inoculations replaces a measure passed last year that only prohibited warrants for vaccines with federal authorization. emergency use. Democrats said that was unnecessary because Arizona allows parents to easily opt out of any vaccination mandate.

The measures will take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the current 2022 session of the legislature.

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