Somerset State Senator Rick Girdler is sponsoring a bill that would allow employees to claim exceptions if their employers mandate vaccinations.
Girdler presented the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
The bill would create a new section of KRS to require employers who mandate employee vaccination to allow exceptions based on religious belief or conscientious objection to vaccinations and would amend KRS 344.040 to make it an illegal practice for employees. employers to require vaccinations as a condition of employment for employees. who have sincere religious beliefs against or conscientiously oppose vaccination.
“This bill follows federal laws regarding religious and medical exemptions,” Girdler said. “A lot of people in my neighborhood want that.”
The bill was triggered by the growing possibility of COVID-19 vaccination mandates – but would protect workers from any form of vaccination.
“This bill would affect all vaccinations – but those other than the COVID vaccine are not experimental,” Girdler said. “Most of us are immune to other diseases.”
Girdler explained that employees would have to sign “appropriate documentation” stating that religious objection was exempt from any vaccination warrants.
“For a medical exemption, they would need a statement from a licensed medical professional,” Girdler said, adding that amendments could be made to the bill before it hits the House floor. .
The bill bothered Dr. Joe Weigel, director of the internal medicine residency program at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital.
“Vaccination is a scientifically valid means of preventing and/or mitigating serious bacterial and viral diseases – it has been accepted in the medical and public health fields for over 200 years,” Weigel said. “Apart from clean water, proper sewage disposal and antibiotics, no other intervention has been more important in prolonging human life.
“Most humans today have no experience of poliomyelitis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, cholera and other infectious diseases that have ended lives prematurely in the recent past” , Weigel added. “Vaccination has changed our relationship with all these scourges.”
Weigel also pointed out that calling COVID-19 vaccines “experimental” was wrong.
“The three vaccines used in the United States have full FDA approval and are no longer under emergency use authorization,” Weigel said. “COVID-19 has been brutal to deal with over the past two years. Vaccines developed with speed and proven scientific success have saved many lives.
“Public schools and the military have required vaccines to attend or belong for decades. They’ve always been accepted,” Weigel said. “The only thing different with COVID-19 is that it is a new pathogen. No infectious disease or its treatment should be politicized. Not ever.
“Any law that makes public health harder to achieve should not be enacted in Kentucky or any other state,” Weigel added.