Health board to vote on protocol


February 16, 2023

Annie Wooden

County health officer Ron Petrie explains why the county must have a communicable disease protocol at a session reviewing the document last week.

Sanders County Health Officer Ron Petrie met with community members last week to discuss changes to the county's Communicable Disease Protocol.

The Sanders County Health Board was set to vote on the revised protocol on Wednesday. Results of that vote were not available before publication. Petrie told the dozen community members at the review last week that

Community member Bruce Hunn has been addressing concerns about the protocol language with commissioners since last year. "People are concerned with the political nature of the document," Hunn said last week. He added that the original document was copied from King County, Washington, and still cited Washington state laws instead of the correct Montana state codes. "We wanted the document to be reviewed. What I have tried to do is simplify the guidance in the document," Hunn said of his proposed changes.

Petrie explained the necessity of the protocol to the community members at the document review last week. He said that everyone has the right to do things, but people also have a right to be protected. He went on to explain that people have a right to not be harmed by someone else and to not be exposed to diseases. "We as public health officials have an obligation to interfere in someone harming other people. Legally we have to have a plan," he added. Commissioner Dan Rowan also said that the county receives some grant funding as a result of the protocol.

Petrie said the major changes he addressed in the document had to do with informed consent and health education. He said that he felt while the county should provide vaccinations, they should not be promoting them.

Petrie said that he felt some of the mandates during COVID probably violated the Nuremburg Code, which is the ethical code that was written regarding human experimentation following the trials of Nazi leaders after experiments in concentration camps during World War II. "Everyone who took the COVID vaccine was a test subject," he expressed.

"Experimental vaccines or testing should not be promoted by Sanders County Public Health officials," Petrie stated. "A health officer has no obligation to promote non-traditional or experimental treatments." Petrie said he added a paragraph to the county's protocol that recognizes bodily autonomy and the right to refuse medical care.


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