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Tennessee House passes bill to ban local, state governments from requiring COVID-19 vaccine

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The Tennessee House of Representatives passed a bill banning state and local governments from requiring COVID-19 vaccines.

The legislation, House Bill 13,  states that “a law enforcement agency or governmental entity of this state or a local government, or the governor or chief executive of a local government by executive order, shall not force, require, or coerce a person to receive an immunization or vaccination for COVID-19 against the person’s will,” according to the bill’s text.

The bill was passed by a 72-19 vote, and it now heads to the Senate.

The measure would take effect immediately upon the governor’s signing.

The bill comes after the Tennessee Senate passed legislation last week banning “vaccine passports” requiring someone to show proof that they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Gov. Bill Lee (R) has said he opposed vaccine passports, and supported the legislation banning them. However, it’s unclear if Lee would sign H.B. 13.

According to WZTV in Nashville, the governor has stressed that getting the vaccine is a personal choice.

Lee was vaccinated in late March, according to The Tennessean.

Tennessee ranks 47th in the nation for the percentage of adults that have received at least one vaccine dose, according to WJHL 11. Only 40.8 percent of the state’s adult population has received at least one dose, compared to 50.4 percent of American adults total.