Proposed legislation aims to outlaw mRNA vaccines in Idaho

By Natalie Kruvant | Fact-checked by MDLinx staff
Published February 23, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • A new bill proposes charging healthcare providers with a misdemeanor if they provide or administer an mRNA vaccine in Idaho.

  • The aim is to possibly limit COVID vaccinations in the state.

  • The bill would make these vaccines illegal beginning this year.

Idaho is getting attention, thanks to a new bill proposed by State Senator Tammy Nichols and State Representative Judy Boyl. The bill, House Bill (HB) 154, would make the use of mRNA vaccines illegal in the state of Idaho.

More specifically, if anyone administered or provided an mRNA vaccine, including those approved to fight off COVID, they could be charged and found guilty of a misdemeanor. 

“This bill is aimed specifically at healthcare providers. It doesn't say that vaccine manufacturers or distributors will be punished,” Naomi Bishop, MD, tells MDlinx

If the bill passes, these vaccines will become illegal in July 2023. Vaccines that help fight against influenza, autoimmune diseases, COVID, and cancer potentially would be impacted, says Bishop. 

Idahoans would be able to cross state lines for medical care, but that, of course, puts a significant burden on patients. 

If the bill passes, people in Idaho could still get the Novavax COVID vaccine, a protein subunit vaccine and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID vaccine, which is a viral vector vaccine.[] However, this may cause a supply-chain issue, says Kristen Fuller, MD

“Idaho has become a haven for retirees. Since advanced age is by far the greatest risk factor for severe illness and death from COVID-19, banning mRNA vaccines will deal a massive gut punch to the people who've migrated there to enjoy their twilight years,” says Bishop.   

It’s estimated that about 60 percent of the people living in Idaho have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. More than 50 percent of people in Idaho are fully vaccinated against COVID.[] 

"In terms of the quality of healthcare in Idaho, it will certainly take a hit."

Naomi Bishop, MD

"I would imagine that physicians with integrity and conscience will leave, and large financial incentives will be needed to attract doctors to work there,” says Bishop. “And, quite obviously, the Idahoans who will suffer the most if the bill passes are the marginalized groups with limited access to care who we know are most impacted by COVID.”

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