A state senator in Oklahoma has introduced a bill in the state legislature designed to make employers financially responsible for injuries caused to workers through enforcement of any vaccine mandate.
Republican State Senator Rob Standridge introduced the bill on Friday, titled the “Citizen Health Mandate Protection Act.” It covers both public and private employers and places a minimum responsibility of $1 million for each separate injury resulting from vaccines or medical treatments required as a condition of employment.
Standridge said that many Oklahomans might not be aware that the federal government has given liability protection to vaccine manufacturers. He said that the state’s citizens need to know they will have some avenue of recovery if they are injured by a vaccine required to hold a job.
The current legal immunity provided to manufacturers extends through 2024 and was granted to pharmaceutical companies by the federal Department of Health and Human Services through the provisions of a 2005 federal law, the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act.
Standridge designed his bill to avoid the limitations of liability or immunity provided by the state’s Governmental Tort Claims Act or the federal PREP Act. The proposed legislation provides that an employer shall automatically be subject to punitive damages if liability is found under a claim filed according to the law, with a minimum of $1 million awards.
Republican Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt wrote to the U.S. Secretary of Defense harshly criticizing the federal vaccine mandate imposed on Oklahoma National Guard members. Stitt demanded that the DOD “immediately consider suspending” the mandate.
Oklahoma National Guard Adjutant General Thomas Mancino also wrote a memo to the DOD last week rejecting the mandate for his personnel, outright ordering that “no Oklahoma Guardsman be required” to receive the vaccine. He stated that his order was effective “notwithstanding any other Federal requirement.”