Rapid City lawmaker proposes protections for people who refuse vaccines

KELOLAND.com Original

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: The headline was updated.

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — An anti-vaccination bill has been proposed by a Rapid City lawmaker. 

Rep. Phil Jensen.

Rep. Phil Jensen (R-S.D.) is sponsoring House Bill 1159 which is “an act to prohibit interference with the right to bodily integrity in contagious disease control.”

The proposed bill wants to make sure “no person, as a result of refusing to accept any vaccination, be subjected to discrimination or retaliation with respect to association, education, employment, housing, property rights, public accommodations, or public services.” 

HB 1159 says nothing stops an employer from taking screening steps to “determine whether the person has an infectious, contagious, or possibly contagious disease, if the screening is job-related and consistent with business necessity.”

The bill comes in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in 107,795 total cases, 6,264 hospitalizations and 1,763 deaths in South Dakota, as of Thursday. Worldwide, the disease has caused more than 100 million cases with more than 2.15 million deaths. 

Two different COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed and administered in South Dakota. More than 87,800 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to 63,248 persons.

South Dakota health officials have stressed the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.

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