But they're also not forcing people to get vaccinated.
"It's important for us to remember that people need to be in charge of their own health care from the beginning," said Commissioner Delmo Andreozzi, a member of the health board. Elko County Health Officer Dr. Bryce Putnam, also a member of the health board, noted that receiving a vaccine is a personal choice even though he himself is a profound advocate for vaccination.
Commissioner Rex Steninger agreed with his colleagues. "We can't order people to wear masks. I feel the same way about this moratorium," he said. "If somebody wants to take the vaccine, that's their decision."
County commissioners earlier took hard stances against what they considered "government overreach." They voted to disregard a mask mandate reimposed in August 2021 by former Gov. Steve Sisolak to curb the spread of the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. They also banned the use of vaccine passports by any county agency in July 2021, and unanimously rejected a $500,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in November 2022.
During the board's Jan. 18 meeting, they also voted against a "discussion and consideration of a request to discontinue local advertising for COVID-19 and influenza vaccines pending further investigation and results of the Florida Supreme Court case to investigate the wrongdoing related to COVID-19 vaccines."
Back in December, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis requested the Sunshine State's high court convene a grand jury to investigate any possible side effects of COVID-19 vaccines and to get more information from pharmaceutical companies. (Related: DeSantis pushes to remove vaccine mandates, allow vaccine-injured to sue for damages.)
Elko County Commissioner Jon Karr, a member of the health board, said the vaccine-related items should not even be on the agenda as they do not put the county in a positive light.
"Our legal already said, 'You can go ahead and do that,'" he told 2News. "You don't have any right to tell the hospital, 'Don't do a vaccine' or, all of a sudden, you can't tell the radio stations they can't advertise. We don't have that authority anyway."
According to Karr, a concerned resident spoke about possible problems with vaccines – including heart problems and cardiac inflammation. The said resident cited DeSantis' efforts to investigate COVID-19 vaccines.
Threat of legal action from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada also played a role in the vote. The civil rights nonprofit penned a letter for the health board, warning that it would file a lawsuit if members proceed with a moratorium on the COVID-19 and flu vaccines, as well as their marketing.
"A moratorium on vaccinations would be an egregious injustice," ACLU representatives said in the letter. "Whether those in Elko [County] take advantage of influenza or COVID vaccines, offered readily throughout the country, is not your decision."
Because of this, the health board rejected the proposed bans despite support from a majority of community members who testified during public comment.
Watch this Newsy report about the Department of Defense lifting its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for military service members.
This video is from the Willow channel on Brighteon.com.