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It is no secret that Iowa lawmakers will have a lot of work to do when they return to the Capitol. Whether the brunt of that work is done this year or next — or in the next couple — it is clear the Iowa Code needs to be reexamined when it comes to what powers the government has during a time of public health disaster.

One of those powers should be this one, taken from 135.144 (6), which is under the additional duties of the Department of Public Health related to a public health disaster.

“Vaccinate or order that individuals be vaccinated against an infectious disease and to prevent the spread of communicable or potentially communicable disease. Vaccinations shall be administered by any qualified person authorized to do so by the department. The vaccination shall not be provided or ordered if it is reasonably likely to lead to serious harm to the affected individual. To prevent the spread of communicable or potentially communicable disease, the department may isolate or quarantine, pursuant to Chapter 139A and the rules implementing Chapter 139A and this subchapter, any person who is unable or unwilling to undergo vaccination pursuant to this subsection.”

Just prior to that the Department is given the power to order physical examinations and tests and to collect specimens as necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of individuals. Again, if someone refuses, they may be isolated or quarantined.

Iowa law allows for religious and/or medical exemptions to vaccinations. However, according to 641.7.3(3):

“Medical and religious exemptions under this rule do not apply in times of emergency or epidemic as determined by the state board of health and declared by the director of public health.”

Keep in mind, anyone injured or killed as a result of a vaccine is not able to sue the vaccine manufacturer. And it does happen. That much is not up for debate.

Instead, it is the U.S. Government who pays those damages.

Parental rights, individual liberty does not cease to exist in times of public health disasters. If anything, individual autonomy should be strengthened as ultimately we’re responsible for ourselves and our own well being first.

And that goes for our kids too.

This is just one example of Iowa Code that will need to be addressed when the Iowa legislature returns in the future.