The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) and its partner Medicaid managed care health plan network of physicians, Carolina Complete Health Network, strongly oppose four bills currently pending in the NC House regarding changes to the state’s vaccination laws.

We object to HB 779 – Coronavirus Vaccine Bill of RightsHB 686 – No Gov’t Retribution for Refusal of CV19 VaxHB 558 – Prohibit Mandatory CV19 Vaccinations and HB876 – Vaccination Private Choice Protection Act because, as an ongoing matter of public health, we have long supported regular vaccination and have been working to encourage vaccination against COVID-19. Our current state statutes regulating vaccination are satisfactory, and we urge legislators not to change the law that has served the state well, especially as we seek to end the pandemic.

“My colleagues and I have been working diligently since the COVID-19 vaccine became available to improve access to it and reduce hesitancy among those who question its safety and effectiveness in order to save lives during this crisis,” said NCMS President Philip Brown, Jr., MD. “This proposed legislation undermines this effort. These legislative changes are not necessary and serve only to erode the opportunity for open and honest discussion with our patients.”

Not only would these proposals serve to discourage vaccination against COVID-19 in the midst of a global pandemic, they also would extend to vaccinations against other deadly illnesses. We ask that our state leaders remain focused on measures that will end the pandemic as soon as possible and restore the health and livelihoods of our fellow citizens.

“It is important that those who have cared for the sick and dying speak up now. If we want to live in healthy North Carolina communities, we must embrace vaccination,” said Carolina Complete Health Network President and Chief Medical Officer Rachel Keever, MD, CPE, FACC. “We seek to understand the new science of achieving immunity and protection in our communities. This requires hard conversations about making optimal choices among imperfect ones. These conversations are best had between clinicians and their patients, building on the trust established through everyday medical care.”

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