Virginia lawmakers consider legislation to speed vaccinations

COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccine.(Pima County Health)
Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 9:21 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -Virginia lawmakers are considering legislation that could speed the administration of vaccines in the Commonwealth.

Thursday morning, the Senate Education and Health Committee reported SB1445 on a unanimous vote.

“The goal of this bill is to liberate the vast assets that we have in Virginia,” said Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico), chief patron of the legislation.

The measure would streamline the requirements for health professionals who want to volunteer, and help identify more locations where the state could establish mass vaccination sites. It provides civil and criminal immunity to individuals and organizations acting within the provisions of the bill.

“I have people from the medical community that want to help,” Dunnavant told members of the committee. “This is what they do. Our dentists, our doctors, our nurses, our nurse anesthetists, our NPs, this is what they do. They help people and they want to help us get this job done.”

The legislation has bipartisan support.

“Getting people vaccinated in the most efficient way possible is in our joint interest,” said Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax). “I hope every senator will read this legislation and if they see fit, will put their name on it and take credit for it.”

A news conference outside the building where the Senate is meeting included representatives of medical professionals from across the state.

Dr. Cynthia Romero is Director of the M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk.

“This legislation is an absolute critical piece that will help to facilitate us to get the number of vaccinated individuals to the levels that are adequate to achieve herd immunity,” Romero told WDBJ7.

The bill was introduced with an emergency clause.

If the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates act quickly, it could reach the Governor’s desk in a matter of days.

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