Rejected Virginia bill aimed to protect those refusing to take COVID-19 vaccine due to religious beliefs

Legislators hope to bring bill back during regular January session

The bill would have protected those who would refuse to take a COVID-19 vaccine because of religious reasons.

A Virginia house bill that was shut down in special session Tuesday would have protected the rights of people who don’t want to take a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available due to religious beliefs.

Lynchburg representative Wendell Walker is a co-sponsor of the bill. He said the purpose of the bill is to protect people’s rights.

Walker said House Bill 5016 was created after state health experts said they may make the vaccine mandatory.

“While everyone is concerned about COVID-19, we’re also concerned about the impact it can have on people’s lives out here who feel they may not want to take a vaccine. And there are many of us. My emails and phone have just been ringing off the hook,” Walker said.

Legislators hope to bring the bill back during the regular January session.