BIG COUNTRY, Texas (BIGCOUNTRYHOMEPAGE) – In this week’s episode of Big Country Politics, News Director Manny Diaz had a conversation with the president of Texans for Vaccine Choice, Rebecca Hardy.

Texans for Vaccine Choice was founded in 2015 in response to a vaccine mandate bill that was filed in the Texas Legislature.

“This bill [HB2006] would have removed the exemptions that Texas school children have enjoyed for decades upon decades here in our great state. And a group of moms got together and essentially said, ‘Not on our watch,'” Hardy shared.

The group went to the state capital to ensure their voices were heard.

“Not only did we defeat that one really bad mandate bill in 2015, but we defeated about 16 other bad bills that were filed during that 2015 legislative session. And, you know, after that legislative session, I think the group of us were kinda like, Okay, we came, we saw we conquered, we can go back to our normal lives. And then some state reps invited us to coffee and essentially said, ‘Listen like this issue is not going away. We’ve never seen anything like this before you moms just took over the Capitol building. You need to consider forming an official, you know, organization.’ And so that’s what we did: we formed a non-profit. And since then, Texans for Vaccine Choice has been active,” Hardy explained.

Hardy shared that the majority of supporters were moms of children who were injured due to vaccines.

“At the beginning, the vast majority of our supporters were the people that were kind of locking arms with us were moms of vaccine-injured children. And so they had seen the devastation that is possible. Vaccine injury is not a conspiracy theory. It’s not. It’s not a myth. This is it,” Hardy shared. “Vaccine injury is codified in federal statute. And so these moms just wanted to, and that’s really my story, too, is as we have this innate desire to protect other Texans from vaccine injury that will happen as a result of mandated vaccine of any sort.”

She mentioned that the debate over vaccine choices had been ongoing for years but was more of a subdued conversation in 2015.

“These discussions were very, very much being done in the shadows. People were still afraid to speak out about their potentially negative experiences with the vaccine program and such. And now we are seeing a true explosion in our support,” Hardy explained. “We have events all over the state trying to build the army and get information out, and they’re standing-room only. People are craving the information. They’re craving a community that is awake to just how much undue influence big pharma has in nearly every aspect of our lives.”

Hardy shared that the discussion was brought into the spotlight due to COVID-19.

“COVID has been a real catalyst for our movement. Absolutely. I mean, for the first time in modern history, we have seen the rushed science of vaccine production. We’ve had some, you know, the data manipulation, we’ve had, you know, a lot of trial data that has just been not readily available to the public. It has shined a light on just how much big pharma really just cares about their profits and not about patients,” Hardy said.

There has been a surge in coronavirus cases, leading to discussions about reinstating vaccine and mask mandates. However, Hardy disagrees with this approach.

“What immediately comes to mind is, ‘Really, we’re doing this again?’ We saw such infringement on personal liberties during the past three years. And this is a virus that is getting much less severe. This is not a cause for shattering businesses, masking our children or forcing more ineffective boosters,” Hardy expressed.

She shared that the non-profit has helped hundreds, if not thousands, of Texans navigate vaccine exemptions. Something they are prepared to do again.

“We’re prepared to do the same thing if this becomes an issue with employers and employees. It’s unfortunate that we’re still dealing with this in Texas. Our legislature really failed to protect the vast majority of Texans from COVID [and] the vaccine mandates,” Hardy shared.

She mentioned that although SB-29 was necessary, more work needs to be done.

“While it was very much needed, it is a limited bill. SB-29 only prevents government mandates regarding closures, masks, and vaccines related to COVID. So, you know, while it was needed because we have some county judges that are chomping at the bit to, you know, institute mask mandates for their counties, again, they cannot do so because of SB 29. But what we’re seeing is that everybody else, anybody who works for a nongovernment entity, is absolutely still vulnerable to their employer’s vaccine mandates,” Hardy said.

She shared that employers can still mandate vaccines, something that is often compared to work requirements such as wearing a hair net or uniform.

“People like to say, well, this is just a condition of employment, just like wearing a hairnet or a warrior uniform shirt. And I would just like to remind everyone that a shirt can be taken on and off, a hairnet is taken on and off, there’s no adverse events related to a uniform shirt. But every single vaccine comes with risks. Every single vaccine that is on the list for children and adults, has been compensated for vaccine injuries,” said Hardy.

Hardy stated that although more work is needed, the Texas Senate has made progress on a variety of issues.

“So there were several amazing bills that were left on the table this past legislative session that ended in May of 2023. The Senate did their jobs. Our Texas senate did a tremendous job and sent over well over a dozen pieces of legislation to our Texas house that covered a wide range of issues from, you know, disallowing gain of function research to, you know, talking about DNA ownership and discussing the blood supply and DNA in our food supply. These were tremendous bills that the Senate sent over to the house,” Hardy expressed.

One of the main bills that was addressed was the COVID-19 Vaccine Freedom Act. Hardy stated that if the bill had passed, it would have given Texans the right to informed consent.

“This was carried in the house by Representative Brian Harrison, and in the Senate by Senator Mays Middleton. This was a very unique bill in that it would have provided informed consent for COVID jabs for every single Texan,” Hardy explained. “Informed consent is not a controversial idea. I mean, this just says, you know, all of the risks, you know, all of the benefits, and you can say yes or no without penalty or consequence. This is the fundamental of all of all medicine is informed consent. And so for whatever reason, this became a hot potato, which was crazy because it had over 40 or 50 joint co-authors in the house and it had the votes in in our Texas legislature. And due to assumption, and again, as in our Texas house, that bill did not make it over the finish line.”

Hardy clarified that Texans for Vaccine Choice is not against vaccines. Their goal is to provide information to Texans about their rights and ensure they have access to informed content.

“I’m not anti-vaccine. Texans for Vaccine Choice is not anti-vaccine. We don’t tell anyone to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. We’re just here to inform Texans of their rights. We’re here to make sure that informed consent is provided and not continued to be infringed upon. If there was a a vaccine that caused zero injuries, zero adverse events and was 100% effective, I think the whole world would rejoice,” Hardy shared. “These are medical procedures just like every other medical procedure, comes with risks to some people, and you don’t know if you’re vulnerable until it’s too late. And that’s why we advocate for informed consent because these mandates will guarantee that some are injured.”