TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker in Kansas outlined a measure Wednesday that would overturn Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s policy of withholding doses of COVID-19 vaccines from counties wanting to move to a new phase of inoculations before the rest of the state.
Senate health committee Chair Richard Hilderbrand of Galena called the policy “blackmail or extortion.” The state Department of Health and Environment calls withholding vaccine doses an “enforcement mechanism” and Kelly says the goal is to “keep the train running as smoothly as we possibly can.”
Hilderbrand’s bill would allow counties to set their own vaccination schedules. It follows several months of widespread criticism of Kelly from the GOP-controlled Legislature over what they view as a slow administration of shots.