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AZ bill would ban future 'emergency' vaccines from school attendance requirements

Last year, GOP lawmakers made sure COVID-19 vaccines are no longer required for students to attend school. A new bill this year would ban schools from requiring students to be immunized with any future “emergency use” vaccines.

House Bill 2474, sponsored by Republican Rep. Steve Montenegro, said children shouldn’t be forced to take what he described as experimental drugs.

COVID-19 vaccines were initially approved by the FDA under its emergency use authorization authority.

“We're going to err on the side of citizens and their ability to choose if they want to be lab rats or not particularly their children,” Montenegro said in support of the bill.

Democratic Rep. Amish Shah warned the ban could jeopardize public health during a future pandemic, when doctors and scientists are scrambling to release a vaccine to stop the spread of a life-threatening disease.

“That vaccine would have to come out because it's going to save lives, quickly, it's going to have to come out with an FDA emergency use authorization,” Shah said. “When it comes out that way, it will probably save a lot more lives than the incidents of vaccine-related injury.”

Republicans on Monday passed the bill out of the House Health and Human Services Committee on a party line vote.

Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.