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USA: House approves vaccine education, anti-fraud and electronic car charging bills

Immunization bill moves forward in House despite shots from naysayers

Strong feelings are injected into both sides of the immunization debate. Should students be allowed to attend school without their shots? Whose right is it to decide when a child is immunized — the parent? the child? the state?

For a bill that’s garnered so much ink and so many hours of testimony, HB 1288 makes little substantive change to Colorado’s current immunization laws.

Right now, a parent sending a child to public or private school can opt out of immunization for one of three reasons: religious, medical or personal/ philosophical. HB 1288 would require that parents wishing to opt out provide a doctor’s note or complete a 45 minute online information module on both the dangers and benefits of immunization in addition to signing an opt-out form. The measure would also provide parents looking to enroll their kids in a particular school information about the school’s rates of immunization.

“We’ve had a pertussis outbreak for a the second year in a row now,” said Rep. Dan Pabon of Denver, the bill’s sponsor, referring to a nasty bought of whooping cough that’s recently re-emerged around the country and has been tied to reduced immunization rates. He added that Colorado is sixth in the nation for highest immunization opt-out rates and that every year 3,000 Colorado children enter kindergarden here without one or more vaccines.

Pabon emphasized that his measure would not do away with immunization opt-outs, but instead require parents to demonstrate that they’ve spent some time educating themselves on the issue before making their choice.

Rep. Brian DelGrosso of Loveland opposed the bill on the grounds that it should be a parent’s right to choose, regardless of how much online education they get on the issue. DelGrosso chose to vaccinate his kids, but his brother didn’t.
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