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Rep. Tracy Quint gives update on how the session is going

Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 6:24 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -Continuing on with our updates from Representatives, tonight we hear from Tracy Quint of House 144 on what she is working on during this session. Here’s Megan Cole with her update.

“Actually this upcoming week we’re going into full session so this will be the first time since the beginning of January that we’ve done this. We’ll be speaking a lot about the budget talking about the emergency powers the governor has and maybe try to scale those back a little bit and just meeting in general with colleagues that we haven’t been able to see since the beginning of the year so it will be really nice to be able to discuss those in person and actually be able to have those back and forth conversations.”

So how is the budget doing since you previously mentioned that.

“We’re working on it. Some of it will be changing because it looks like we’ll be receiving more federal funding but we are working on the supplemental budget and be voted on next week so there’s a lot of back and forth with the budget and what’s to be spent and just where we’re redirecting funds whether or not we want to move those funds around where they’re at.”

So what are some bills you’re working on this session as well?

“There’s a lot of bills going through right now and there’s a lot of bills in our committee. I personally have a bill going forward a lot of constituents asked for and it is for a 5 year moratorium on the COVID vaccine being mandatory and that’s mainly because it’s under emergency authorization use for a couple of years and a lot of people are concerned that it would be required for employment or for their children to go to school and so we’re looking at having a moratorium to hold off for further safety testing and to also just to look into reproductive harm going forward this is something that hasn’t been studied with the vaccine, there’s only inserts and also that it’s still considered a gene therapy so it’s a new technology going forward and it’s being introduced and right now because it is under emergency authorization use everybody receiving the vaccine is part of the clinical trial so we’ll have that information going forward but definitely want that investigated further before this is something that becomes mandatory especially with school children going forward with our vaccine laws they can add to that at any time so that’s a little nerve-wracking for a lot of parents I’ve received emails about it.”

So where is the status of that bill? Did you just introduce it or is it getting closer to being voted on?

“I actually introduced that bill when we were sworn in back in December. It was something that I wanted to go through emergency authorization just to get it out there but because we do have the 2 year hold on it just because it is under emergency authorization I have a little bit more time so it will be pulled from being an emergency bill so it will…it won’t need 2/3rds to go through it would just need a simple majority so I’m hoping that because this is not an anti-vaccine bill it’s actually a safety issue that people from both sides of the aisle will look at this and be concerned of it and hopefully I can get some support from some of my democrat colleagues as well and I have had some of them speaking with me about that so I’m looking forward to having those conversations this coming up week when we meet in full session.”

So what’s the significance of this bill why did you choose to work on something like this?

“Well I’ve been a nurse for 24 years and so it’s one of those things of first do no harm once again this is a new technology coming out we need to prove it’s safe before we’re telling people they have to get for those who it’s been recommended to get it and they have that’s their decision and that’s fine going forward and Maine has actually done a pretty good job in getting those vaccines out right now we have a bit of an uproar because we’ve been going by age now we’re looking at recommendations going forward that Shah might be putting forward for teachers to be involved in that group as well because they have expressed concerns for that.”

The COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been booked solid at Cary Medical Center.

Dr. Regen Gallagher, the chief medical officer of Cary Medical Center, says that they’ve already received a shipment of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. She says that they’ve been hard at work getting the vaccines out to as many people as possible and not wasting a single dose.

Regen: because we take appointments for our vaccines we know exactly how many people are coming ahead of time so we don’t thaw or open up any vaccine than people are planned for. Occasionally someone will have a contraindication and can’t get the vaccine even though they had an appointment or they changed their mind and decided not to come. There are plenty of people waiting for vaccine that it’s not hard to fill those one or two or three slots per clinic following all the state guidelines when we do that.

Dr. Gallagher says that they find out from the state on Friday as to how many vaccines they will be receiving. She says they won’t release appointments until they get the vaccines and see how many they have to give out in case there is a problem with shipping. For more information on how to sign up for the vaccine, visit cary medical center. Org or pines health. Org.

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