In largely symbolic vote, SLC lawmakers oppose government mandates on vaccines
WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) – St. Lawrence County lawmakers have taken a big hit on vaccine mandates – opposing everything coming from government. It comes less than a week from the vaccination deadline for healthcare workers.
During Monday’s meeting, county lawmakers focused on the state’s mandate to vaccinate healthcare workers. Some lawmakers say it’s a slap in the face for those saving lives during the pandemic.
“They served 18 months, you know, the last 18 months and took care of their patients. So, “now, if you don’t get the mandatory vaccine, you’re no longer welcome in health care,” said Rita Curran, St. Lawrence County lawmaker.
Curran fears a brain drain from nurses and the like. A rescue team leader fears longer waits in emergency rooms if nurses and others leave.
“As for us, it will absolutely slow things down at the hospital. Right now the turnaround times are extremely long, ”said Ken Gardner, chief of emergency services for the Ogdensburg Rescue Team.
But, some believe that the resolution of lawmakers is far too broad. He opposes all government-imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
“If there is any opposition to state and federal mandates on vaccines, it would certainly concern state universities. It would also apply to our military, ”said John Burke, St. Lawrence County Legislator.
Both state universities and the military mandate vaccines. There are also concerns that the resolution may complicate the county health department’s drive to increase vaccination rates.
“My personal opinion is that I think it muddies the waters,” Burke said.
Still, the resolution was passed by 12-3. It is not binding on any government agency. For now, it’s just another expression of opinion in the larger debate.
There is no final word on vaccine mandates yet. This is because political debates take place in courts, legislatures and on the streets.
But officials are, for now, determined to see them through. The deadline for SUNY students to get vaccinated is also Monday. The military face deadlines in November and December.
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