A new bill has been introduced in the Idaho Legislature that would fine COVID-19 vaccine distributors $5,000 a day if they do not disclose that they have unused COVID-19 vaccines after 14-days of receipt of the vaccine.
HB 97 was introduced last Thursday by Rep. John Gannon (D-Boise) and Rep. Bruce Skaug (R-Nampa) in the House State Affairs Committee.
The bill’s official Statement of Purpose is as follows:
This bill provides incentives to speed up the availability of Covid -19 vaccine doses to those who want them. It provides that 70% of vaccine doses must be distributed by vendors within 14 days of receipt and that the State Administrator of the program shall be immediately notified if there are vaccines that have not been distributed within that time. A vendor will incur a $5000 fine for failing to notify the State Administrator. Those doses not distributed must immediately be reassigned and delivered to another vendor. It also provides that vaccine doses must be administered as provided in the Governor’s Order, but if a dose will be wasted or destroyed then alternative persons on a waiting list may receive that dose. There is a sunset provision.
Gannon, one of HB 97’s sponsors, said during the introductory hearing on the bill,
Let me be clear, this bill does not require or mandate that anyone get vaccinated. Period. It merely speeds up the process for those who want vaccines and there are about 100,000 unused doses in Idaho today based on the published reports we’ve seen.
Skaug, the other sponsor of the bill, said about the current state of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution,
Why is my 90-year-old mother-in-law, who lives with us, not able to have a vaccine yet? Idaho ranks at deadlast, or the bottom five, it changes day by day, for vaccine rollout. With all the committees that we have, with all the money that we have, why are we at the bottom? There is no excuse, and I can’t get answers.
Rep. Jason Monks (R-Meridian), brought up concerns with the “logistics” of the bill. Part of his concern was how entities who are supposed to distribute the vaccines determine when they are at 70% because vaccines come in at different times. Monks said he did not see anywhere in the bill that addressed what happens in those situations or a situation where an entity thought they were going to hit 70% but only hit 69% and forgot to notify the State Administrator.
Monks went on to say,
How do you track new vaccines? Old vaccines? I’m not seeing those kind of details in here to where, logistically this works.
Gannon responded that each batch of vaccines has its own 14-day period where 70% of them must be used or the State Administrator must be notified. Gannon said that if we are in an emergency then it was important to fix the issue of vaccine distribution.
Other Representatives spoke but mostly wanted to ask additional questions during a full public hearing.
A public hearing for the bill has not yet been scheduled.
If you are desiring to get the COVID-19 vaccine, have you had problems receiving it or know someone who has, or have you not had issues getting the vaccine?
Tags: Bruce Skaug, Covid-19, HB 97, John Gannon, Vaccine