District 59 state Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) has filed a bill in the state House that prohibits state and local governments from issuing COVID vaccine mandates.

House Bill 98 filed by Hardister, who is the House majority whip, would prohibit any state or local government agency from issuing COVID vaccine requirements on citizens and government employees and prohibit requiring proof of COVID vaccination records from anyone.

The purpose of the bill is prevent discrimination against people who refuses to provide proof of their COVID vaccination status and those who refuse to submit to a COVID vaccination when seeking employment with a state or local government.

House Bill 98 also prohibits public schools in North Carolina from issuing a vaccine mandate on students, faculty or staff.

In a press release Hardister said, “I’ve received a lot of feedback from people who are concerned about COVID vaccine mandates. This will prevent government agencies from establishing any form of a COVID vaccine mandate.

“The COVID vaccines were produced in a rapid manner with an expedited approval process.  It is not appropriate for the government to force people to take a vaccine that is novel with no long-term studies available.

“Part of the concern is the fact that new health reports are indicating that there may be side effects related to the COVID vaccines. This underscores the fact that it will take time to learn about potential long-term effects of the COVID vaccines, and as such, it is not appropriate for the government to issue mandates on our citizens.”

Hardister added, “Other vaccines, such as tetanus and polio, are long-standing with extensive health research in place. These vaccines are also clinically proven to be adept at preventing infections, and there is an extensive amount of peer-reviewed studies related to these vaccines dating back decades. The COVID vaccines, on the other hand, are very new, and we have not yet had the time to study the long-term effects of these vaccines.

“In my opinion, taking a COVID vaccine should be a personal decision, not a mandate-driven activity.”