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LETTER: Legislative committee won’t extend vaccine mandate

I read with great interest Bill Dentzer’s article in the Dec. 21 Review-Journal, “Vote kills mandate extension: Legislative panel deadlocks 6-6.” The story revealed how the panel failed to extend expiring COVID-19 vaccination mandates for college students and state corrections and treatment facility workers. These groups are in environments that favor the likelihood of COVID infections and spread of disease, making these people more vulnerable and much less safe.

If the comments made by state Sen. Joe Hardy summarize the thinking of the Legislative Commission’s Republican members, they downplay the “current” seriousness of the situation and the impact of the decision on people’s lives. Its impact is much broader because it can affect other students, workers, families and their communities by spreading virus.

The goal is to prevent “most people” from getting this virus. Sen. Hardy mentions a “permanent regulation in a changing world and changing environment” as the reason for not passing this important legislation. I remind him and his colleagues that, until quite recently, the delta variant was continuing to sicken, hospitalize and kill affected individuals. The omicron variant, which has become the dominant strain and is more contagious, still appears to be responsive to full vaccination and booster immunizations. It has certainly changed the thinking about how aggressive we must be in implementing vaccination and other known safety measures.

The environment “is” changing but for the worse. Moreover, although approval of the proposal would represent a “permanent regulation,” it could be later changed to reflect how well Nevada is able to deal with this dreadful virus.

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