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Children vaccine debate headed to Colorado House committee

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A proposal to make it harder to send kids to school without their vaccines cleared its first hurdle Thursday in a Colorado House committee.

The proposal has powerful bipartisan backers, but it sparked intense opposition from some.

Colorado is one of 18 states that allow parents and students to opt out of getting required vaccines if they submit a statement of exemption based on religious or personal beliefs.

The bill would require parents of students seeking a personal exemption to watch a video that discusses the benefits and risks of immunization to the student. Religious and medical exemptions would not be affected.

The House Health, Insurance & Environment Committee approved the bill 9-2 after hours of emotional testimony.

Sponsors said the change is needed because of whooping-cough outbreaks and other health risks that could be prevented if more pupils were vaccinated.

“Vaccine refusal results in higher rates of vaccine-preventable disease,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver. “This is a public health issue. These are very serious diseases.”

Colorado has the sixth-highest rate of non-vaccinated kindergarteners in public school, some 3,000 statewide last school year, according to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

The measure would require school systems and child-care centers to disclose their rates of non-vaccinated children.

Parents on both sides packed the committee room to share opinions on vaccinations.

“It should not be more convenient to opt out than it is to get your child vaccinated,” said Alexandra Fickenscher of Denver, a mother of two who supports vaccination and wants to see the exemption process tightened.

Lawmakers also heard from parents with heart-breaking stories of injuries caused by vaccines. Those parents said mandatory education for parents isn’t needed.

“Parents have a constitutional right to parent their children,” said Susan Lawson, whose daughter suffered brain damage after contracting encephalitis from a routine vaccine when she was a year old. “I am not an uneducated woman.”

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Online:

House Bill 1288: http://bit.ly/NadrL4

By KRISTEN WYATT Associated Press

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Comments
  • comment avatar Holly March 14, 2014

    Frankly, I think it’s too easy to opt out and there does need to be more education. Parents are getting sucked into all these reports about delayed vaccinations or none at all and it makes me nervous what will be reintroduced into our society as fewer kids are vaccinated.

  • comment avatar Sandi March 14, 2014

    The biggest problem is that schools are extremely dense germ factories. They are so densely and continuously populated that they are little different than CAFO’s – Concentrated Animal Feed Operations. CAFO’s generally pump their animals full of antibiotics and vaccinations because the living conditions are inhumanely dense. Schools are similarly dense and inherently unhealthy therefore applying a band aid of vaccination and antibiotics rather than addressing the hyper density of the students misses the real problem, much like CAFO’s. However, governmental policy makers are excellent with the feel good superficial legislation and not so much with the genuine understanding of complex social problems, see: gun legislation, war on drugs, et al.

    Another example is hospitals. Why do they tend to be the biggest breeders of the superbacteria MRSA? Hyper density of people compounded by hyper-sanitization and hyper treatment with antibiotics that allows bacteria that do survive to evolve more successfully posing a significant danger to humans.

    We homeschool thereby bypassing the grossly underfunded public academic system, the concentrated germ factory that is a public school, missing out on most of the illness that gets passed around the community (an observable fact), and avoiding the added burden to the taxpayers amongst many other bonuses. Legislation like this gives our family even more motivation and indication that we are on the more healthy life path. Plus, we are free to travel and learn about our state, country and world while the rest of the population is largely confined to their Concentrated Academic Facility Operations (CAFO). We also avoid the parental and political zealots that would rather try to force everyone to abide their band-aid policies rather than to observe the institutionally inhumane system they are subjecting their children to year after year. Politicians and parents who likely are not even up to date on their own vaccinations. That’s right, unless you get pertussis vaccination boosters (and others) every year then you are also not actually vaccinated.

    Pass the band-aid legislation then. Ignore the genuine problem, as usual. Also, mandating vaccinations for a majority of the population is excellent business for the vaccination manufacturers, just like CAFO’s.

  • comment avatar Sans March 14, 2014

    No problem there. School your children at home and keep them there. When I’m next to you at the organic store, when I’m behind you at the light rail stop, when we’re both at the local mall, I run a very real risk of contracting an illness or disease from your non-immunized child.

    Your child might not show symptoms of any kind yet still carry an active form of the virus. That, in turn, can be spread around via exhalation or direct contact or even transmitted by me touching the counter your kids were climbing on.

    We all make compromises in our lives, most of which are meant to protect us from our own actions or the accidents caused by others. If someone hits my car, I can see who did it, but if I contract an illness I have no idea who to thank for my suffering. That’s a shame because if I knew your child was the carrier and my illness could have been prevented by a couple of shots, rest assured I would be presenting you with a bill for the results of your selfish and skewed behavior.

  • comment avatar J March 14, 2014

    It seems strange to me that vaccinated parents and children are so concerned about unvaccinated kids exposing them to…wait, what was it they were vaccinated against?

    We do vaccinate, but on a very delayed schedule. I like to wait and watch for any adverse reaction after each shot so as not to resort to guessing games over what the source of my child’s illness might be. We also avoid chicken pox and MMR, because both are derived from the cell lines of aborted fetuses and we don’t believe good can come from such evil. There are ethical versions of both vaccines which don’t use aborted babies, but unfortunately they are not presently available within the U.S.

  • comment avatar Kitty March 14, 2014

    Sans I want to ask you why you shop organic? Have you done your research and believe that organic is best? You have a choice and you are not allowing others to have that choice to be parents and to do what is best and healthiest for their children. Calling us skewed is completely inaccurate as we have done our research and we have seen the results of what vaccines can do to a child. If you yourself believe in vaccines get them yourself and don’t blame us for the illness because you would never be sick right??

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