Testimony: Ending and Preventing Unnecessary COVID-19 Mandates
Testimony in Support of LD 869, An Act to Protect Education Access by Prohibiting a Mandate for Schoolchildren for a COVID-19 Vaccine or a Vaccine Under an Emergency Use Authorization, LD 1148, An Act to Prohibit COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for Students Enrolled in Public Institutions of Learning, and LD 1228, An Act to Prohibit Certain Higher Education Institutions from Requiring Vaccines Approved Under Emergency Use Authorization for Admission or Attendance
Senator Rafferty, Representative Brennan, and the distinguished members of the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs, my name is Nick Murray and I serve as director of policy for Maine Policy Institute. We are a free market think tank, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that advocates for individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of LD 869, LD 1148, and LD 1228.
Despite recent action by Maine’s university and community college systems to rescind their COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students and staff, these bills are still very important. Without them, the damage caused by these policies in the last few years would occur again in the future. Policies which mandate young people take an emergency-use vaccine for any reason, especially to protect disease for which they face a minute risk of severe illness, are so egregious to liberty and equality that the Legislature must ensure it never happens again.
Our higher education systems coerced students to take the COVID-19 vaccine before the scientific community knew how effective or safe it was, or give up their educational path and future. State and federal officials, despite this lack of knowledge, continued to push the vaccine on younger people.
The people who spoke out against the sort of injustice that the University of Maine System, Maine Community College System, Maine Maritime Academy, and other institutions of higher learning across the nation perpetrated were coerced, canceled, and silenced by the press and social media companies at the encouragement of government officials. But, ultimately the dissidents were right.
There is not now, nor was there ever, a legitimate public health reason to mandate this new vaccine, because it does not stop, or even significantly reduce infection or transmission. Data presented in a September 2022 letter to the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine show that the protection offered by COVID-19 vaccination against infection for children wanes precipitously, as is the case for adults as well. A recent study on indoor COVID-19 vaccine mandates in nine cities found no significant impacts on COVID-19 vaccine uptake, cases or deaths.
Lawmakers should act to protect the rights of Maine’s youth, and ensure students are never again treated like they were for their choices regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Please deem LD 869, LD 1148, and LD 1228 “Ought To Pass” and restore respect for bodily autonomy in Maine law. Thank you for your time and consideration.