The bill, sponsored by Democratic Delegate Nick Charles, would prevent businesses from putting forth a vaccine mandate. It also aims to protect companies from being sued by employees who become infected by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, and previously refused to be vaccinated.
“Prohibiting an employer from terminating an employee solely on the basis of the employee’s refusal to receive a vaccination against COVID-19,” a summary of the bill states.
If signed into law, the bill would be effective for a period of two years, until further studies on the safety and efficacy of the existing COVID-19 vaccines emerge, Prince George’s County Delegate Charles said.
Charles, who has himself been vaccinated against COVID-19, told Fox 5 DC that his proposal is about “protecting some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
“I’ve gotten feedback from other colleagues who may not necessarily like the bill. They’re scared that it may add to some hysteria and I tried to explain to folks. This is not a bill about anti-vaccine, it’s not a bill about adding to hysteria,” said Charles.
“If mandates are put in place and those who are still scared, what will end up happening where—we already have a chronic unemployment—that community will be either further disadvantaged where people in the community will lose their jobs if they’re scared,” he added.
It comes as lawmakers in at least 27 states have proposed barring employers from mandating workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The majority of those bills have faltered.
Federal guidance issued in December 2020 permits businesses to legally require that employees are vaccinated as a condition of going to work, however, employees’ religious objections must be considered, and vaccine requirements must not discriminate against employees with disabilities.
As COVID-19 vaccinations continue to roll out across the United States, businesses, including Starbucks, Kroger, Target, Amtrak and Trader Joe’s have begun offering incentives for employees to encourage workers to be inoculated.
Target announced last month that it will offer up to four hours of pay for frontline and essential employees who are vaccinated. The retailer is providing free COVID-19 vaccines for its more than 350,000 employees.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 43 million adults in the United States have been fully vaccinated against the CCP virus—equal to about 13 percent of the U.S. population, or about 1 in 6 adults in the country.
The vast majority of the doses delivered and administered are from Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, which require two doses.
The Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine, authorized by regulators last month, makes up 2.1 million of the doses administered, with another 2.1 million distributed but not yet injected.