Feb 18, 2022 - News

D.C. lawmaker withdraws bill to revive proof-of-vax mandate

A storefront sign explaining D.C.'s proof-of-vaccination mandate

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

A short-lived proposal to revive the District's proof-of-vaccination mandate was withdrawn late last night ahead of a scheduled vote this morning.

Driving the news: Council member Brianne Nadeau withdrew the emergency bill after it became clear it would not get the nine votes needed for approval.

Catch up fast: The vaccine mandate was lifted Tuesday and the mask mandate will follow on March 1. Mayor Muriel Bowser cited a drop in case counts as the Omicron surge ebbs.

  • The D.C. Council was blindsided by the move, but only two other council members, Robert White and Janeese Lewis George, told Axios they supported Nadeau's bill.
  • "I still believe that reinstating the proof of vaccination requirement for certain establishments and facilities is the best way to protect public health and safety," Nadeau said in a statement withdrawing the bill.

Nadeau and White have criticized the mayor for lifting the mandates when children under the age of five still cannot get vaccinated.

Of note: The lifting of the mandates follows several other cities and states in recent weeks even as most of the country remains with high COVID-19 transmission, per the CDC.

The details: Elissa Silverman supported the vaccination rule at its onset a month ago as a tool to incentivize more shots in arms.

  • But now, in a series of tweets, she said there are “diminishing returns” from it toward boosting vaccination rates, which are lowest in wards 7 and 8. She is concerned “whether this is effective & [about] the racial divide in who is being excluded” from businesses.

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