Jerrod Sessler for Congress
600 8th Street
Prosser, WA 9935
Chairman, Board of Health
Benton-Franklin Health District
7102 W. Okanogan Place
Kennewick, WA 99336
Subject: Expanding Powers of the Benton/Franklin Health Board to Mandate COVID 19 Vaccinations
I wish to start by saying that vaccines have been proven to be helpful against infectious diseases and illnesses. The process for approving vaccines has also been streamlined for obvious reasons, and, until recently the risk of adverse effects has been mitigated by professionals in the medical field. However, in light of the fact that the COVID 19 virus and vaccine has not been studied for a long enough period of time to fully ascertain the long-term risks, along with the fact that its creation involves the use of fetal cells, which goes against strongly held religious beliefs of many law-abiding residents, my concern is with the mandating of the COVID 19 vaccine in particular.
The fourth amendment right of citizens to be secure in their own persons has always been sacrosanct to the American people. Public authorities are sworn to protect these rights. And, all government agencies, even in an emergency, must make every attempt and provision possible to protect these rights.
Additionally, under HIPAA laws, the privacy of the health status of Americans is protected. Enforcing businesses to require vaccine proof will lead to lawsuits, hostility, and severe hiring difficulties resulting in loss of revenue at a time when the economy is suffering and shortages are imminent.
The Benton-Franklin Health District board has been doing an exceptional job in managing this pandemic. I believe it is possible to continue to protect residents from the spread of the virus without suspending their Constitutional rights. With education, prevention, and voluntary vaccination it is possible, even probable, that we will continue to reduce the spread of the virus without the image of an authoritarian government enforcing its wishes on Americans against their express desire.
I would like to point to Kitsap Public Health District, which has decided not to enforce the vaccine mandate, as a precedent proving that it is possible to determine against implementing these mandates.
In an article in the Kitsap Sun, Kitsap County Commissioner Ed Wolfe is quoted as saying, “They’ve been hurt too much already. We all know about the skyrocketing costs for our businesses and their inability to find staff and revenues are down significantly. The county’s facing a serious health issue, but I suggest to the board that we need to consider our actions carefully. Our respective jurisdictions, all of us on the board here today, are facing severe hiring challenges that could be further impacted by a vaccine mandate.”
I believe an equally compassionate, reasonable, and judicious approach can be demonstrated by the Benton Franklin Health District. I suggest that a series of town hall-style meetings be established where we the people can respectfully and professionally banter the real facts. In that setting, we can also hear about the laws that protect the people from government overreach. We can also further understand the public health responsibility for protecting the people. And, all of this can be done in full public view. This can be done with the oversight of the Benton Franklin Health District or an assignee(s).
I would like to close by saying that the decision to enforce vaccine mandates or choose a less drastic approach is yours. However, I urge you to consider the effect on our economy and the morale of the residents of these counties and make the decision based on the best interests of the people who are your first responsibility to serve.
Thank you for your time and consideration of my request.