By CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) – There’s a new twist in the debate over vaccinations at the Colorado State Capitol. A Senate committee heard a bill Monday that would bar employers — including health care facilities — from requiring employees to get vaccinated.

(credit: CBS)

Some health care workers testified that it’s a matter of civil rights, and courts have sided with them in several recent cases around the country.

The federal Civil Rights Act requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for workers with religious objections. The state bill would go further and make it against the law for an employer to require anyone to get an immunization.

Kira Ritter has worked in health care for 17 years, most recently as a radiology technician at a freestanding emergency room. She says she’s afraid of losing her job because she objects to vaccinations on religious grounds.

“My fear is my exemption will be pulled because I’m the sole provider for my family, that I will have to lose everything and move out of Colorado.”

Ritter was among those who testified in support of the bill.

(credit: CBS)

Theresa Wrangham with the National Vaccine Information Center says Colorado’s state health department has refused to provide guidance for health care facilities and, she says, stood by while employees’ civil rights are violated.

“There are some health care facilities in Colorado that allow for religious exemption and others that do not. We get a real mixed bag because there’s not a standardized, accurate piece of information for health care workers,” Wrangham said.

(credit: CBS)

State Rep. Yadira Caraveo, who is also a doctor, says health care workers take an oath to put their patients first.

“I see newborns every single day. I see babies in the NICU. I see people whose immune system is compromised, and that includes parents who are on chemotherapy and have compromised immune systems. And they really shouldn’t worry about coming to the doctor and contracting an illness from me.”

Ritter defends her decision not to vaccinate.

“I don’t feel that I’m putting anyone at risk any more than somebody that is being vaccinated.”

The bill died in committee. It is one of a dozen bills that address informed consent to vaccination this session.

Shaun Boyd

Comments (5)
  1. Heathbar says:

    It’s too bad that medical facilities don’t think their doctors and nurses are intelligent enough to look at all of the risks and benefits to vaccines and make fully informed decisions for themselves. Should we be concerned that hospitals are hiring people they don’t trust to make personal medical decisions for themselves? (obviously this is sarcasm, but the point still stands. If anyone should be able to make a personal medical decision it should be someone with medical training, no?)

  2. MaryClaire Higgins says:

    Kira is a radiologic TECHNOLOGIST. NOT a technician…when will people get it correct…Aside from that, if a woman can scream “My body, My choice” and murder her child in the name of choice, we who don’t want the vaccines have the same RIGHT to not have them as it is “MY BODY, MY CHOICE!”

  3. Yaakov Watkins says:

    Patients should have the option to refuse to be treated by non-vaccinated care-givers. Therefore, they should have special name tags.

  4. Lis Hatgi says:

    This is NOT an anti-vaccine bill. This is a bill to protect individual rights to choose medical procedures and not have them forced or mandated upon us as terms for employment.

  5. Ann Miles says:

    This is very unfortunate the bill did not pass. There were many RN’s and a few MD’s who have been injured by vaccines and they need to have the freedom to decline a vaccine that could harm them and possibly be fatal. The medical profession in general has placed too much faith in vaccines which DO NOT prevent disease, they are highly toxic and many people have been injured, disabled and have died from vaccines which are poorly tested and the manufacturer is not liable for any vaccine related damage. Fortunately, awareness is growing and so is the movement and more and more people are waking up!!!

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