NC House wants to ban vaccine mandates for transplant recipients
North Carolina lawmakers want to ban COVID-19 vaccine mandates for organ transplant recipients.
A bill that passed the state House last week is named for 14-year-old Yulia Hicks. She was reportedly denied a kidney transplant at Duke Health because her family refused the vaccine. Her story was featured on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show.
Rep. Celeste Cairns, R-Carteret, sponsored the bill that would ban doctors and medical providers from requiring the vaccine before transplants.
"It’s designed to prevent this from happening to another North Carolina family," she said, referencing the Hicks family's reported experience. The bill says that "the life of an individual who needs an organ transplant and refuses to get a COVID-19 vaccine is as worthy and valuable as the life of an individual who needs an organ transplant and gets a COVID-19 vaccine."
The bill also prevents medical providers from turning down organ donors based on their vaccination status, or refusing insurance coverage for transplant-related care on that basis.
While some Democrats joined House Republicans in supporting the measure, 25 of them, including Rep. Deb Butler, D-New Hanover, voted no.
"None of us should be telling a doctor how or when or who should have a transplant or be eligible," Butler said during the floor debate. "I don’t think you want legislators making these important medical decisions."
Another bill that passed the House last week would require new vaccines to be FDA-approved for at least three years before they could be required for kids.
House Bill 626 stems from concerns that the state's Commission for Public Health might add the COVID shot to the list of required childhood vaccines. It would keep that from happening unless the vaccine has had FDA approval for three years or if it's recommended by the N.C. Medical Society Board of Directors and the N.C. Pediatric Society Board of Directors.
That bill passed in a 74-40 vote, with only five Democrats voting yes. Both vaccine-related bills now go to the Senate.