Rep. Holt’s closing remarks on partial COVID-19 vaccine passport ban

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Republican Rep. Steve Holt managed the COVID-19 vaccine passport bill through the Iowa House on Wednesday evening.

The bill partially bans COVID-19 vaccine passports in Iowa as it prohibits government entities and political subdivisions from utilizing COVID vaccine passports.

Private businesses that utilize them will not be eligible for state grants or contracts — but they can still use them.

Health care facilities are exempt, which means they can utilize COVID-19 vaccine passports as well.

In Holt’s closing remarks, he accused Republican Rep. Jeff Shipley, who offered three amendments to the bill, of “a true distortion of facts.”

Holt took exception to the assertion that he suggested Iowa should do the bidding of the CDC.

“I merely pointed out the reality that the position our health care facilities would be in if they could not follow CDC guidance,” he said.

Holt said everyone was “very upset” and it was “horrific” when people couldn’t visit loved ones in nursing homes.

“Many would aruge some of those decisions were wrong, and I would agree with that,” Holt said. “Now we have guidance from the CDC, with vaccines in which if you have a vaccine you can visit your loved ones without a mask and move around. If you don’t have a vaccine you can have a mask, but you can still visit. That’s tremendous progress.”

Holt then said “no right is absolute.”

“No one is suggesting that anyone could or should be denied health care if htey don’t get a vaccination,” he said. “There is a duty of care currently in law.”

Holt added the bill doesn’t change anything when it comes to health care facilities that isn’t currently the situation.

“That doesn’t mean that vaccine passports are encouraged in health care facilities,” he said. “The duty to care, the right to privacy — all of these other issues, all of these other requirements still exist in code. So no one is suggesting by exemption health care facilities that we think someone should be discriminated against and not allowed to see their loved ones or not admitted into a hospital — those things won’t happen because there is a duty of care.”

The exemption, Holt said, is because of the realities faced by health care facilities in trying to protect those they are sworn to protect.

“This has been a very difficult situation for lots of folks,” Holt said. “This bill does not go far enough for some and it goes too far for others. I have done my best to strike a balance on these issues.

“It’s just not as simplistic as Rep. Shipley would like it to be. It isn’t. It isn’t. No right is absolute.

“Those folks in those nursing homes also have a right to life for as long as possible. And if they’re life can be jeopardized because we can’t ask somebody if they have a vaccine or not when they come into a health care facility — can’t go there, can’t go there. So this just isn’t as simplistic as some folks would like it to be. It isn’t.”

Holt then called vaccine passports “unacceptable, unconstitutional and unAmerican.” He predicted Americans would not tolerate vaccine passports.

“We’re not going to tolerate vaccine passports, we’re not going to tolerate people not being able to travel without a shot,” he said. “Not going to happen in America.”

If health care facilities decide to mandate the vaccine, Holt said the legislature would come back and take action.

He called allegations that the legislation codifies discrimiation “absurd.”

Fundamentally, he added, this is a liberty issue.

“Nobody should be forced to put a chemical in thier body, particularly a chemical that is a, a test,” he said. “That in testing hasn’t gone through the normal complete protocols but was done in good faith to try to protect people.”

He called for agreement that it should be the choice of the individual whether they get the vaccination or not.

“That is what this is about — the right of the individual to choose,” Holt said.

Later he said there are two sets of rights involved — rights of individual employees and rights of employers.

He asked if business owners should have the right to require COVID vaccines for their employees.

“I just think the free market will take care of that,” he said.


Author: Jacob Hall