Michigan GOP Senators Advance Bill to Prevent COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Children Under 18

​Republicans say parents should be able to make the decisions while Democrats say it’s unnecessary and spreads fear.

Republican Senators in Michigan have pushed through a bill that would prohibit state and local health officials from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for children under age 18 — despite no plans for a mandate by anyone in state government.  

Republican Sen. Lana Theis of Brighton introduced the bill Tuesday. She says she’s concerned about the vaccine being mandated — even though many other vaccines are required to start school.  

“Parents should be allowed to make the decision on this.” –Sen. Lana Theis of Brighton

“While they might not be mandating something, they’re certainly creating a scenario where mandates are being pushed. I just wanted to ensure that that wasn’t going to happen in this space. Parents should be allowed to make the decision on this,” said Theis, of her legislation that would prevent the use of a state or local emergency order to require coronavirus vaccines for minors. It won Senate approval on a 20-16 party-line vote and was sent to the Republican-controlled House. 

Democratic Sen. Curtis Hertel of East Lansing was among those who said the bill was unnecessary.  

“For those that say that children and parents should be making decisions about children, I agree, and I look forward to your hearing later today, where you tell people’s kids who can play sports,” said Hertel, who was referring to another bill that would limit a transgender athlete’s ability to compete in school sports.  

Democratic Sen. Winnie Brinks of Grand Rapids said these bills are not needed and are spreading fear.  

“It plays on unfounded fears of well-meaning parents, and it puts reasonable public health measures at risk of endangering us all. This bill is simply another solution in search of a problem,” she said. 

Related: What You Need To Know About Kids Getting Vaccinated

For the second straight session day, the House adjourned without voting on GOP-backed legislation that would ban vaccine passports, which are also not in consideration and there’s no plan by the Whitmer administration to implement them.  

To date, 58% of residents ages 16 and older have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the state.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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  • Russ McNamara
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