Two North Dakota state senators have called on health department officials to stop harassing unvaccinated residents with calls providing information about the COVID-19 vaccine and pressuring them to get vaccinated.

Senators Jessica Bell (R-Beulah), and Nicole Poolman (R-Bismarck), sent a letter on Tuesday, May 25, to state health official Dr. Nizar Wehbi. In the letter, they queried controversial calls citizens received and criticized the government’s role in “personal health decisions,” local media outlet The Bismarck Tribune reported.

Both lawmakers argued they had been meeting with a group of people receiving the repeated calls, who expressed concern about understanding how they knew they were not vaccinated.

“In order for the Department to initiate these calls, medical records must be accessed without the immediate consent from the citizens of North Dakota,” they wrote in their letter.

The lawmakers’ concern goes beyond the discussion about vaccines and one’s personal decision about whether to get the shot or not. Bell and Poolman are concerned about the health care system’s interference in such a personal issue, especially its insistence and unlawful handling of personal data.

Bell and Poolman asked Wehbi what confidentiality protections residents had, who made the calls, and what training they had, the Tribune reported.

“It’s not about vaccines,” Bell said. “It’s about the proper role of government.”

Wehbi responded to the lawmakers’ letter ambiguously and argued that COVID-19 is still “circulating in our communities,” people who are not vaccinated are at the most significant risk of contracting the disease, and that vaccine reminders are not unusual.

“Reminder/recall outreach is a well-established, effective tool that has been used to increase immunization coverage rates for years,” Wehbi wrote.

According to the state health official’s arguments, the people in charge of making the calls are trained people with medical or public health experience, understanding that this already qualifies them to persuade a person to be vaccinated.

North Dakota is one of the states with the highest hesitancy rates against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus vaccine. It has gone as far as fully vaccinating 49% of the adult population and, despite possessing a large stockpile of vaccines, could not increase that number. 

North Dakota’s situation worries advocates of mass vaccination plans, who claim that herd immunity cannot be achieved with less than 70% of the population vaccinated.

Taking this parameter into account, experts assure that collective immunity, by vaccination, is unlikely. Vaccination rates have stagnated throughout the country, despite the great effort made by specific sectors allied with the federal government to persuade the population to get the injection, including groups of healthy adolescents who are not really at risk of contracting the virus.

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