The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors this week took a stand against requiring proof of COVID vaccination to use county facilities or services, unanimously approving a resolution against what have become known as “vaccine passports.”
The Board resolved that residents “must have the opportunity to conduct everyday business and obtain local government services for their health, safety and wellbeing” and be able to do so “without revealing their vaccine status.”
The resolution only applies in county jurisdiction and does not prohibit private businesses from enforcing their own vaccine requirements — a point Supervisors Vito Chiesa, Mani Grewal and Chance Condit made clear during Tuesday’s meeting. Grewal also added “when receiving County services” to the end of language which states the Board is against vaccine mandates, so as not to include a “blanket statement,” he said.
The resolution also states that families have the right to make their own health decisions after language was added by Supervisors. Supervisor Terry Withrow applauded the audience for its participation in meetings, and numerous public comment speakers shared their support for the resolution.
“I think that’s a great thing that everybody’s here,” Withrow said. “We might not all agree on how to get to that end place, but we’re here having the conversations and that’s what it’s all about.”
Other California jurisdictions have enacted “vaccine passport” mandates, requiring proof of vaccination to enter a variety of facilities like restaurants, bars, concerts and gyms. Tuesday’s resolution passed by Supervisors means residents won’t have to do so in order to enter County facilities and access services.
This isn’t the first time Stanislaus County leaders have spoken out against vaccine mandates; Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools Scott Kuykendall drafted a resolution earlier this month speaking out against vaccine mandates for school children and stated he would be petitioning the state to recommend, not require, inoculation against COVID-19 to participate in class.
Supervisor Chiesa stated Tuesday’s resolution does not mean the Board wishes to go against state law and that vaccine passports have not been mandated by the California Department of Public Health.
“We are advocates for you,” Chiesa said. “In no way do I support us not following the law, the rule of law, and so we’re making statements and advocating for you...talking with state elected officials and letting your thoughts be known to them.”