The state House Workforce, Trades, and Talent Committee held a hearing Aug. 19 on a proposed bill to prohibit private businesses from requiring certain vaccinations for their employees. House Bill (HB) 4471, introduced by Rep. Sue Allor (R-Wolverine), would prohibit businesses establishing vaccination policies to help prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases, including COVID-19, influenza, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). All the targeted vaccines in HB 4471 are proven to be safe and effective at preventing infection and reducing the severity of illness, and the MHA opposes the bill.
As introduced, HB 4471 goes beyond prohibiting hospitals from establishing policies to encourage vaccination by removing employers’ ability to require facemasks for individuals while at work. Facemasks have been used in the delivery of healthcare services, especially in the operating room, for decades. The MHA is extremely concerned with this language, which would allow unmasked and unvaccinated individuals to regularly come in close contact with patients, many of whom are critically ill. This legislation would ignore hundreds of years of infection control research and severely hinder the ability of hospitals to protect the health and wellness of their communities.
No official vote was held on HB 4471 following testimony. The MHA provided written testimony in opposition and will keep members apprised of any further action. Members with questions should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.