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February 28, 2020 11:22 AM UTC

A Few Words About "Accommodating" Anti-Vaxxer Crazies

  • by: Colorado Pols

A short while ago, Senate Bill 20-163, a bill to improve Colorado’s bottom-of-the-nation childhood vaccination rate, won final passage in the Colorado Senate. For those who haven’t been paying attention to the noise over what should be an uncontroversial bill, SB-163 is a compromise measure sponsored by Democratic Rep. Kyle Mullica and Sen. Julie Gonzales along with Republican Sen. Kevin Priola, which makes a few modest changes to the procedures by which parents obtain a personal belief or religious exemption from vaccination requirements for their children to enroll in public school–primarily by requiring parents to obtain a certificate from the health department to submit to the school in order to claim a nonmedical exemption. The bill also establishes a statewide “vaccine protected children” standard of 95%, which would represent a large improvement over the current 89%.

Rep. Mullica, as readers will recall, introduced a bill last year that was even tougher–originally requiring parents to appear in person at a state health department office to apply for a nonmedical exemption. Gov. Jared Polis controversially shot that bill down for putting what he saw as an excessive burden on anti-vaxxer parents. But in the end, criticism of that move combined with continuing bad press about disease outbreaks and Colorado’s dismal vaccination rate helped bring, as they say inside the Colorado capitol, “the first and second floors together.”

The opposition to this very sensible legislation–which does not in any way prevent Colorado parents from obtaining a nonmedical exemption to vaccines even though doing so would have broad public support–has not been well-grounded in reality.

These are a few examples of the reprintable comments from the anti-vaxxers among the hundreds who testified in a Senate committee earlier this month against SB-163. Testimony in that committee hearing was in many cases only loosely tied to the details of the bill, and many others not at all. The more reasonable testimony expressed concern that the database set up by public health authorities to register nonmedical vaccine exemptions might be hacked or otherwise misused at some point in the future.

The less reasonable testimony…was very difficult to listen to.

Given the overwhelming public support for tightening vaccination requirements, including eliminating nonmedical exemptions entirely or tightening the requirements to obtain one far beyond the scope of this bill, there is a strong case for hearing out the variably shaky-to-crazy objections to SB-163 and then disregarding them with prejudice. Despite this, several Democratic Senators worked patiently to address any reasonably-addressed concerns to the bill in the form of a number of successful amendments.

As the bill moves to the strongly Democratic House, the irrational opposition to this compromise measure aimed at one of the state’s biggest public health deficiencies should tell House members all they need about their responsibilities. There is a responsibility to hear all sides, but there is also a responsibility to tune out irrational noise.

On this issue, the time for the latter has come.


14 thoughts on “A Few Words About “Accommodating” Anti-Vaxxer Crazies

  1. Oofa. The "funny" part is that a non-trivial percentage of anti-vaxxers are anti-vaxx because they're convinced the Jews have weaponized vaccines for use in their covert war of extermination against  the white race. The crackheads cited above are downright sane by comparison.

    There's a huckster named Mike Adams who made a bunch of money selling Y2K scams in the late 1990s and currently makes a bunch of money as a natural health guru. He portrays himself as an Obama birther, a 9/11 truther, a moon landing denier, a Sandy Hook denier and a Boston Marathon false flagger, among other things. Does he actually believe any of that shit? I doubt it, but he definitely knows how to market to the conspiracy-minded chucklefucks attracted by anti-vaxxism.

    But the ones who really crack me up are the lolbertarian anti-vaxxers. They'll tell you it's all about preventing government overreach and promoting personal liberty. However, if you drill down at all (an inch or two below the surface is plenty deep in this regard), you'll find that the basic pitch boils down to, "You MUST provide me with free stuff, but you MUST ALSO provide it to me on my terms."

  2. I am curious to know how many of the anti-vaxx mouthpieces were, themselves, protected since childhood by a vaccination. I was…and happily so. I grew up remarkably healthy, despite my humble origin.

    Vaccinations I received were few, but important. Where might we be without that small circular scar on the shoulder of practically everyone my age? Have we forgotten Smallpox?


    1. My last landlord is a survivor of childhood polio. The kids in rural New Mexico where he grew up were not vaccinated. He had muscle weakness in his legs his whole life, and still can’t close his left hand properly.

      In spite of these setbacks he became a general contractor- but vaccination would have made his life much easier.

    2. Yep, I recall getting my polio vaccination via a sugar cube, and small pox immunity from the doctor scratching the surface of my arm leaving the circular scar in the '50's.  Later in South Florida after a hurricane, the state deployed mobile inoculation centers for free tetanus shots, and for mosquito-borne diseases back in the '60's.

      What we didn't have access to were vaccines for measles, mumps or chicken pox, so all my siblings, classmates and I suffered through each of these before the age of 10.  Fortunately with no lasting damage.

      1. I was four years old when I got mumps from my sister. My Father got the mumps from me — no lasting damage for either of us, But a vaccine would have made life easier.

  3. I only had chickenpox, late. I was in 7th grade when it broke out in my junior high. Never got the smallpox vaccine. It was pretty much gone by the time I was old enough to have had it. 

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