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Elko County health board to consider banning COVID, flu vaccines

Updated January 18, 2023 - 9:26 am

Update, 1/18/23Elko board takes no action on vaccine ban item

The Elko County Board of Health is scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss and consider placing a moratorium on COVID-19 and flu vaccines in the county.

The board also will consider discontinuing local advertising for COVID-19 and flu vaccines, pending “further investigation and results of the Florida Supreme Court case to investigate the wrong doing related to COVID-19 vaccines,” the agenda says.

In December, Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis requested that the Florida Supreme Court convene a grand jury to investigate any possible side effects of COVID-19 vaccines and to get more information from pharmaceutical companies.

Jon Karr, an Elko County Board of Health commissioner, said he thinks those agenda items never should have been put on the agenda and resulted from a miscommunication.

A concerned resident spoke about possible problems with vaccines, such as heart problems and inflammation, Karr said. The resident pointed to DeSantis’ efforts to investigate COVID-19 vaccines as well as right-wing editorials about vaccines, he said.

“We’ve already been notified by legal that we don’t have the authority to issue a moratorium,” Karr said. “I believe it’s just a miscommunication, and I’m hoping it gets tabled indefinitely.”

Items may not go forward

Karr does not see the agenda items moving forward, as the commissioners do not have the right to issue a moratorium or control advertising in the county.

Delmo Andreozzi, another commissioner on the Elko Board of Health, also does not think the board has the authority to issue a moratorium on administering COVID-19 vaccines. “We do not regulate or have any direct oversight of the health care industry,” Andreozzi said in an email. He thinks the board of health could, however, take an action stating that the county would not expend any county resources or its own advertising for vaccines.

“As I am only one board member, I can only speak for myself,” Andreozzi said in an email. “It is my own personal belief that an individual’s health care decisions should only be made in consultation with that individual’s own medical provider for ANY and ALL health care matters.”

State encourages vaccine

Nevada’s health departments continue to encourage Nevadans to get vaccinated and talk to their doctors.

Dave Sheehan, public information officer at the Southern Nevada Health District, said in an email that health officials recommend people take steps to protect themselves and others since respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 and flu continue to circulate in the community.

“Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines is one of the most effective ways to protect against serious illness,” Sheehan said in the email. “The Health District also recommends people get their seasonal flu vaccine, wash their hands often with soap and running water, get tested for COVID-19 if needed and stay home if they are sick.”

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services’ immunization program encourages Nevadans to speak with a trusted health care provider about vaccinations.

“Throughout the pandemic, much has been learned, and information is available for individuals to make the best choices to protect their health and the health of their families,” said Marissa Medeiros, public information officer for the state’s immunization program, in an email.

The meeting is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and can be watched via Zoom.

“People can get the vaccine, or they can choose not to get the vaccine,” Karr said. “You have the right to work with your doctor and choose which vaccines you should and should not get. … Not some rural commissioners who have more insight.”

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the scheduled time of the meeting.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on Twitter.

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