Texas Covid-19 cases are dropping fast thanks to the widespread rollout of vaccines. Life-saving vaccines are helping our State reopen safely, boosting economic growth and creating jobs. A Senator from East Texas has sponsored a bill threatening to send our State back into lockdown.
Senator Bob Hall from Edgewood is leading an effort in the Texas legislative session to stop mandatory vaccinations throughout the State. Senate Bill 1669 seeks to stop any state-mandated vaccinations, not just the Covid-19 vaccines. Senator Hall is not proposing limitations on vaccines approved by the FDA emergency use authorization. SB 1669 seeks to stop all vaccination requirements.
Senate Bill 1669 proposes to prohibit “discrimination regarding vaccination status and mandates for receiving or participating in the administration of vaccines.” The bill is touted as a promotion of individual liberty. But the bill removes vaccine requirements for public schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and any place of employment. The bill imposes penalties on any entity requiring vaccinations.
If Senator Bob Halls’s bill passes, all vaccines will become optional. The lives of children, hospitalized patients, people in nursing homes, and those who are immunosuppressed would be placed in jeopardy as infectious diseases could run wild without herd immunity.
To be clear, Senate Bill 1669 is not about the Covid-19 vaccine. The legislation makes all vaccines, under all circumstances, optional. The bill is moving through the various legislative committees. Currently, Senate Bill 1669 sits in the Senate State Affairs Committee.
There are currently no bills or legislative moves to mandate Covid-19 vaccination on the state or federal level. But during the middle of a global pandemic, this Texas Senator is trying to abolish the communicable disease protection society needs to prevent outbreaks of other vaccine-preventable infections.
The Texas Medical Association (TMA) has come out in strong opposition to SB 1669. An email from TMA President Dr. Diana L. Fite stated:
- “SB 1669 will set Texas back decades, if not more, when vaccination rates plummet, and infectious diseases have the opportunity to spread unchecked, potentially jeopardizing the lives of Texans.”
- “SB 1669 will crater the Texas economy when once-eliminated contagious diseases return, forcing the shutdown of businesses that are just beginning to rebound from the global COVID-19 recession. Schools will be forced to close, stranding children without vital education and social development. Elderly loved ones will sit neglected and alone in their residential facilities.”
- “SB 1669 will maroon immunocompromised Texans at home and rob them of their livelihoods and individual liberties. It simply will not be safe to be around anyone who is not vaccinated.”
Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 25 Health Services outlines the Texas Minimum State Vaccine Requirements for Students in grades K-12. The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is granted authority to set immunization requirements by the Texas Education Code, Chapter 38.
Senator Bob Hall’s bill changes the wording from “required” to “recommended.” The proposed legislation penalizes anyone who tries to require vaccination for employment or school attendance.
Schools are not the only entity affected. Hospitals and medical offices could no longer require staff vaccinations to help keep patients safe. Senate Bill 1669 states,
“Sec. 103A.001. RIGHT TO OBJECT. A hospital or other health care facility may not require as a condition of employment that an employee, including a physician, nurse, or staff member: (1) be vaccinated; or (2) participate in administering a vaccine.”
The CDC recommends vaccinations for healthcare workers, including physicians, nurses, emergency medical personnel, dental professionals and students, medical and nursing students, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, hospital volunteers, and administrative staff.
These vaccinations currently include Hepatitis B, Influenza, MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella), Varicella, and Tdap (Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis). Most hospitals also require annual tuberculosis risk assessments. These recommendations are in place to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections.
Healthcare worker vaccinations protect hospital staff exposed to infectious disease and reduce the risk of a healthcare worker transmitting an infection to a hospitalized patient.
Edgewood’s Senator Bob Hall seeks to stop any state-mandated vaccinations through SB 1669.
Senator Bob Hall comes from Edgewood, a city about 60 miles from Dallas. His Senate Bill 1669 is supported by Texans for Vaccine Choice (TFVC), an anti-vaccine Facebook group that formed a political action committee.
Bob Hall was elected to the state Senate in 2014. A D Magazine article recalls that Hall won by calling his opponent a pawn of Satan and describing public schools as communist indoctrination.
A Texas Monthly profile explains Hall spend most of his time “on the problem of electromagnetic pulse weapons, or EMPs, a quack threat to homeland security derided by most credible arms control experts and a frequent plot device in pulp novels in which strong men defeat foreign threats.”
Senator Hall is also working to curb voting rights through Senate Bill 1612. Hall is also known for defending white nationalist Ray Meyers and for his false claim that sex education programs are “tools used by abortion clinics to drum up business.”
Voters canvoice their concerns for Senate Bill 1669 by reaching out to their state representatives. To find your Texas legislator clickhere.
State senator Beverly Powell sits on the Senate State Affairs Committee. I contacted Senator Beverly Powell’s office for comment. Her staff stated Senator Powell plans to vote against this bill.
Senator Powell’s Capitol Office: (512) 463-0110
Senator Bob HallCapitol Office: (512) 463-0102 or Click here to e-mail.