Music and NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Ottawa County GOP state lawmakers send letter to county officials, urging resistance to any COVID-19 mandates

Ahead of FDA approval of a COVID-19 vaccine, employers are weighing whether to impose vaccine mandates.
Yulia Reznikov
Getty Images

GOP state lawmakers in Ottawa County have sent a letter to the county’s Administrative Health Official urging the resistance to any mandates. That triggered a response from organization Public Health Over Politicians.

Earlier this week, Dr. Lisa Stefanovsky, Ottawa County’s Administrative Health Officer received a letter signed by Republican legislators Luke Meerman, Brad Slagh and Roger Victory who wrote, “We are urging you resist instituting any mandates from your office” adding, “As legislators, we have focused on getting decision making at the level that is closest to the people, and we ask you to follow this same philosophy as it relates to the education of our kids.”

The message to stand down doesn’t sit well with Linda Vail who heads the group Public Health Over Politicians.

“We are not simply bureaucrats. We are experts and we are being villainized and attacked at the same time COVID-19 cases are on the rise," Vail said.

As Ingham County’s Chief Health Officer, Vail says the position requires science and medical qualifications used for protecting communities from public health threats. She notes state legislators don’t tell MDOT engineers how to do their jobs.

When it comes to the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant, the focus is protecting students under the age of 12 who are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations.

“We know we need to get our kids back to face-to-face learning. And, right now, this mask is a very effective way to keep classrooms safe in a way that we don’t have to exclude as many kids from school, and that should be important to everyone.”

From the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all are recommending students return to the classroom in areas where COVID-19 transmission is high.