ST. PAUL—Today, Rep. Mike Freiberg will introduce a bill which would require parents or guardians opting out of their child’s standard vaccinations to receive education regarding vaccines and the diseases they prevent from a physician or other authorized healthcare provider.
“Children are getting sick and being hospitalized because some parents do not understand the overwhelming evidence that vaccinations prevent serious illness,” said Rep. Freiberg. “Choosing to not immunize your child puts your child and others at risk for serious illness, including diseases like the measles, mumps, whooping cough, and others which are all preventable.”
Even while vaccinations have resulted in a dramatic decline in several diseases which were once fatal, some parents still choose not to vaccinate their children, putting other youngsters and elderly at risk. Measles, a disease thought to be largely eradicated and preventable via vaccination, affected more than 600 Americans in 2014.
At only three weeks old, Emily Stevenson’s daughter spent a harrowing month fighting whooping cough after being exposed to an unvaccinated child. Her airways may never fully recover.
“After this experience, we intensely support the vaccine program, and work to redirect the misguided controversies surrounding vaccines,” Stevenson said. “We implore all to make responsible decisions that will not only impact their own children, but the vulnerable infants and children who deserve to be protected from these serious diseases.”
The bill requiring parents to meet with a doctor or other healthcare provider before opting out of vaccinations is expected to be referred to the committee on Health and Human Services Reform.