Capt. Joseph White is among the 20 additional Maine National Guardsmen who arrived for duty at the Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston on Thursday. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

A committee of the Maine Legislature has voted against a proposal that would have prohibited the state from enacting COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

The Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee voted the proposal down by party lines on Thursday. Democrats, who have a majority in the Legislature, opposed the move, which was proposed by Republican Rep. Tracy Quint of Hodgdon.

Proponents of the bill said it would allow for more time to study the possibility of reproductive harm from the vaccines. Health authorities have said there is no evidence of such a problem.

Democratic Sen. Joseph Baldacci of Bangor said the proposal would make it harder for medical professionals to fight the pandemic, the Portland Press Herald reported.

“What I’m voting against is hamstringing medical professionals over the next five years when the science is changing admittedly. I’m not going to put medical providers and scientists in a straight jacket and risk the lives of 1.5 million Mainers,” he said.