Wisconsin lawmakers look to add natural immunity to state’s coronavirus rules

Legislation would require businesses to accept proof of natural immunity instead of vaccination proof or regular coronavirus testing.

Published: January 6, 2022 4:33pm

Updated: January 6, 2022 11:42pm

(The Center Square) -

Republicans at the Wisconsin Capitol are moving to allow people who’ve already had COVID-19 to get credit for overcoming the virus.

The Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics is discussing AB 675, which would require businesses in the state to accept proof of natural immunity instead of vaccination proof or regular coronavirus testing.

“We can’t force people to get vaccinated, and I certainly would be strongly against that,” said Rep. David Murphy, R-Greenvile, said at a hearing o the measure Wednesday. “So that leaves people in the situation of either being forced to do something they don’t want to do, or they leave their job.”

The push comes as companies across the state wait to see if President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for all businesses with 100 or more employees is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear arguments Friday on lawsuits challenging the mandate.

It also comes as Wisconsin is reporting new records in coronavirus cases, and as hospitals across the state are filling up.

Murphy said hospitals across the state have fired or pushed out hundreds of doctors and nurses for not getting their coronavirus vaccines.

He said that doesn’t help anyone who needs medical treatment for something other than the coronavirus.

“If I were a cancer patient, I would rather have a doctor or nurse who is unvaccinated than not have one at all,” Murphy said. “And I think we’re coming down to that point. Where we have to choose between a perfect world and one where we’re still getting health care.”

Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, almost all of them omicron cases. While omicron is more contagious than previous variants, it is so far been found to be less severe.

The state’s Hospital Association reported just over 2,000 people in the hospital with the virus, including over 460 in the ICU.

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