A power outage during Tuesday's Tehama County Board of Supervisors meeting temporarily halted the gathering, however, once the lights were back on several residents took to the podium voicing their support of the agenda item proposing the county officially oppose the state and federal mandate on COVID-19 vaccines.
All said and done, the Board voted unanimously to approve the opposition through a resolution.
County social services employee, Adam Zaccatto, said while he is not anti-vaccine, he is anti-mandate.
“This is a personal healthcare decision, not one to be forced on me or my family,” he added. “I ask this Board to stand up and protect our freedoms. . .Please be a buffer between us and the state, please stand up for the citizens of our county.”
Another resident said she was asking the Board to protect her bodily autonomy, while others spoke about their “God given right to choose” what happens to their bodies. Many others reiterated the same ideals.
Supervisor Steve Chamblin, who attended the meeting by phone, read a letter to the board he had received from a resident who supports the mandate, noting that at one time the government mandated the small pox vaccination to the public and that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in ordinary times a citizen can decline being vaccinated, but during an epidemic the government can require all citizens be vaccinated.
Supervisor Candy Carlson asked that some of the wordage of the resolution be changed, concerning “right to refuse the vaccination based on their own religious or medical reasons,” believing the verbiage of religious and medical could be removed.
Supervisor John Leach, a Vietnam War veteran, said he knows all about mandates, but in the current case no one should be mandated to be vaccinated.
“It should be a choice, and no one should be threatened by losing your job if you aren't, that is absolutely wrong,” he added.
Several people thanked Supervisor Bob Williams from bringing the item to the agenda.
“I am not anti-vaccine,” Williams said. “But I am anti-mandate. I am vaccinated and I get the flu shot every year based on my medical history, that is what is best for me. Personally, I don't care if you do or don't get vaccinated, it is not my business.”
He noted the resolution would not please everyone, but compromise was the word of the day.
Both supervisors Chamblin and Dennis Garton agreed it is a personal decision whether or not to be vaccinated, however, Garton noted during the polio epidemic everyone, even children, were vaccinated and it saved countless lives and hardship.
The resolution states in part, “Whereas, the members of the Board of Supervisors, as elected officials, have solemnly sworn an oath to support the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State of California which includes providing for the welfare of the general public . . .the Board of Supervisors recognizes each individual's right to refuse the vaccination based on their own religious or medical reason.”
The document goes on to state three items resolved by the Board:
– Formal opposition to any state or federal policy or law that would create a COVID-19 vaccine mandate or seeks to limit or deny due process of law or equal protection of the laws because of an individual's COVID-19 vaccination status.
- Strongly encourages all Tehama County citizens to discuss COVID-19 vaccination with their personal physician.
- Continues to support the Tehama County Public Health Department in its efforts to educate our community on health implications of COVID-19 and effectiveness of vaccinations in preventing severe COVID-19 disease.