Darrell Issa speaks at a debate in 2020. Photo by Chris Stone

Rep. Darrell Issa introduced legislation Thursday that would allow exemption from federal vaccine mandates for individuals who test positive for antibodies against COVID-19.

Issa said his H.R. 5642, dubbed the Follow Accepted Science Together Act, was “developed with a scientific approach” and will make “the vaccine mandate as proposed by the Biden administration unnecessary for millions of Americans.”

“The FAST Act follows the science and exempts Americans with COVID-19 antibodies from this unfair White House edict,” Issa said.

The Republican who represents much of East County acknowledged that vaccines “have helped millions of Americans — myself included,” but added that mandates are “killing jobs and causing chaos.”

Republicans in many states have sought to ban vaccine mandates, notably in Texas, where even private businesses are not allowed to require employees be vaccinated. Only 52% of Texans are fully vaccinated and nearly 300 die of COVID daily — nearly four times California’s fatalities.

But Issa’s legislation appears to be more nuanced. The full text was not immediately available, but the official summary states that the purpose is: “To make any individual who is demonstrated to have antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 exempt from any federal mandate for vaccination against COVID-19.”

Issa said that scientific research has shown that individuals previously infected with the virus “have suitable and substantial protection” if they recover.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.