Nevada county rejects COVID, flu vaccine moratorium

Southwest

(NewsNation) — A proposed moratorium on COVID-19 and flu vaccines was rejected Wednesday by officials in a rural Nevada county.

The Elko County Board of Health during a meeting also turned down a ban on local advertising touting the vaccines, which it said it doesn’t do anyway.

In an earlier report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jon Karr, a commissioner on the board, said he thinks the two items on Wednesday’s agenda were the result of a miscommunication.

“We’ve already been notified by Legal that we don’t have the authority to issue a moratorium.” Karr said. “I believe it’s just a miscommunication, and I’m hoping it gets tabled indefinitely.”

In addition, Karr said, “I don’t believe we should do a moratorium on getting a shot, just like we shouldn’t do ‘you have to go get the shot.’ So, I’m rather disappointed in this altogether. It never should have made the agenda, in my view.”

But it did, and multiple commissioners reiterated the viewpoint during Wednesday’s meeting that they lack legal authority to issue such a moratorium. They were also opposed to a ban on a matter of principle, as reported by the Review-Journal.

“I find it hypocritical that we would consider banning people from taking the vaccine when we’ve argued for two years now that we cannot order people to take the vaccine,” said Commissioner Rex Steninger. “We can’t order people to wear masks. I feel the same way about this moratorium. If somebody wants to take the vaccine, that’s their decision. Outright, I’m opposed to government telling our citizens what they should do.”

In Nevada, the proposed vaccine moratorium was said to be prompted by a resident who was inspired by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a vocal critic of COVID-19-related mandates.

In December, the Florida Supreme Court agreed to convene a grand jury at DeSantis’ request to investigate any wrongdoing with respect to the COVID-19 vaccines.

DeSantis suggested the investigation would in part be aimed at obtaining more information from pharmaceutical companies about the vaccines and potential side effects.

Elko County is known for abundant land and affordability. According to local and federal data, less than 45% of residents got the first two rounds of COVID-19 shots.

Elko borders Idaho and Utah and is home to roughly 54,000 residents. COVID-19 deaths there have totaled 165.

The request for the vaccine ban was submitted by Vern Hatch, who identified himself as a “researcher” and “compiler” during Wednesday’s meeting, which was livestreamed via Zoom. He claimed he found in his research studies that showed vaccines contained snake venom, microchips and an ingredient that causes luminescence.

Multiple fact-checking and medical organizations have debunked such theories.

Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services encourages residents to get vaccinated and to “speak with a trusted health care provider about vaccinations.”

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