A Facebook post yesterday from GOP Sen. Kevin Lundberg of Loveland warns of a bill, House Bill 16-1164, that he says should be “of concern” to Coloradans who believe the various discredited theories about childhood immunizations being linked to autism and other medical conditions:
There is a bill in the House which should be of concern to all parents who have chosen to exercise their statutory authority to determine what vaccinations are appropriate for their children.
HB-1164 will require the parents of children attending school to directly register with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment when seeking any immunization exemptions. Currently completed immunization exemption forms are stored at individual schools, or for some homeschool situations, the parents themselves. The centralized data collection required in HB-1194 is deeply troubling for many parents who have exercised their statutory authority to determine what immunizations are appropriate for their children. This is sensitive information that many believe should not be held by the state in a centralized database which is available to all interested government agencies…
If this bill is to move forward at all it should specifically exempt all students who receive their education in a home setting and allow all classroom style schools (private, charter and traditional public) to opt out if that particular school determines this centralized data system does not fit their situation.
What we’re talking about here is a bill that would require parents who opt their children out from vaccinations to file that exemption with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment instead of the individual school the student is attending. This would straightforwardly improve collection and management of data about student immunizations, which helps health officials understand how vaccines are working to prevent communicable diseases–or not, depending on how well they work and how widely the public adopts them.
That last part is, of course, the problem. With outbreaks of measles and other preventable diseases a growing issue in other areas of the country, fringe activists who have made their careers out of scaring the public away from perfectly safe vaccines have real consequences to answer for. As Lundberg alludes to above, Colorado law on childhood vaccinations is already very weak–anti-vaxxers would use the word “enlightened”–allowing parents to opt their children out of vaccines for any “personal reason.”
Well folks, not only is Lundberg in support of sending unvaccinated kids to school, he doesn’t want the pesky public health department getting in the way even a little.