Majorities Matter: Anti-Vaxxers Win As GOP Senate Locks Down



AP reports via the Greeley Tribune on the death yesterday of House Bill 16-1164, which would have given the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment control of the state’s system of documenting self-claimed exemptions from childhood immunization guidelines:

The state House backed off the proposed database Monday, when it was scheduled for a vote. The legislative maneuver means the database proposal is dead for the year.

Democratic sponsors had enough support to steer the database through the House. But the proposal faced certain death in the GOP Senate, where some Republicans complain the state Health Department has already overreached by contacting parents about their children’s immunizations. [Pols emphasis]

“The public health of Colorado was not enough to convince opponents of the bill,” said Rep. Dan Pabon, a Denver Democrat who proposed the database. “The politics around the ‘I word,’ or immunizations, just got to be too intense.”

Colorado law on childhood vaccinations is among the most lenient of any state in America. Parents are allowed to claim an “exemption” from school immunization requirements for any personal reason they choose, beyond more common exemptions granted elsewhere for religious or other specific objections. This bill wouldn’t have changed that, simply centralizing the gathering of the information so as to better understand why the state has one of the lowest rates of vaccinations in the nation.

The failure of the vaccine database bill makes Colorado one of only three states with no central tracking of childhood immunizations, Pabon said. [Pols emphasis]

In short, this was a battle between public health experts defending science, and politicians protecting those who reject or at least question the science behind vaccines in public health policy.

“It has to do with what authority the state has over parents” who object to vaccines, said Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud. “A lot of parents don’t disagree necessarily with all vaccinations. But they do disagree with the volume and schedule of vaccinations.”

In 2015, legislation that would have made it even easier for parents to “exempt” their children from vaccines and attend public school failed against the backdrop of outbreaks of measles and other diseases preventable by vaccination. The issue hasn’t been in the headlines to the same degree in 2016, but the passion on both sides of this issue is never more than one headline away.

With that said, the political consequences of being on the wrong side of this fundamental public health issue appear very serious to us. Polls show the overwhelming majority of the public supports vaccination of school-age children, with almost 80% saying vaccination should be mandatory for healthy kids.

Worth keeping in mind when Republicans celebrate how they “protected” our “right” to not vaccinate our kids.

21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Zappatero says:

    But D's and R's are both reasonable actors on the political stage. Both sides should have equal standing with voters, no matter any stupid "facts" or polling.   And, as everyone knows, a bipartisan solution, where both sides give something, and Democrats give just a bit more, is always the best solution. 

    If a few kids have to die from some long conquered disease, so be it. 

  2. taterheaptom says:

    What we need is more forced religious-motivated transvaginal ultasounds and LESS science-based public health meddling. 

  3. spaceman65 says:

    Thank you, GOP, for making measles outbreaks more likely in Colorado. 


  4. Craig says:

    As far as I'm concerned, parents can do whatever they want.  But, if they choose not to vaccinate, their kids can't come out in public, ever, until they are vaccinated.  There's your choice Sen. Looneybird.

    • BlueCat says:

      Should definitely not be allowed to attend public schools and private schooling should be their own financial responsiblity just as Catholic schooling has always been the responsibility of Catholic parents. Private schools can make their own choices. They'd be wise to choose "no way".

      If a parent can't find a public or private school willing to expose students to their dangerous unvaccinated children home schooling would be the remaining option. Exceptions can safely be made for the tiny percentage of children who would actually be endangered by vaccinations for medical reasons. A very small percentage of unvaccinated in a vaccinated population is safely acceptable. But a doctor must verify he child's medical condition based exemption and strict no wiggle room limits on the percent of medically excused chldren in any given school should be set and enforced.

      Those who don't vaccinate for religious reasons can organize their own private religious schools at their own expense.

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        A common sense response. While I was a small kid "back in the dark ages," there was never any issue surrounding vaccinations. You just got them, unless one's parents were part of one of the real small religious groups that proscribe vaccinations. 

  5. Duke Cox says:

    Anyone know where to find a list of the vaccinations required in Colorado? It might be interesting to actually look at one….

  6. Diogenesdemar says:

    Proving, yet again (like we needed any more …), that perhaps the most dangerous contagion is ignorant asshattery …



    … here's hoping someone finally develops a vaccine for that malady!

    • mamajama55 says:

      Microcephaly may be  due to  pesticides sprayed in drinking water, rather than to the Zika virus. It's hard to sort out because they both occur in the same Brazilian and Argentinian poor slum populations where the drinking water is a breeding ground for Zika-carrying mosquitos, and also heavily sprayed with pyriproxifen, a larvae-killing chemical manufactured by Sumitomo (a Monsanto affiliate).

      There is as yet no scientific data definitively proving either the pesticide or the Zika virus causes microcephaly.

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        So you'd probably be in favor of some additional research — the kind that requires physicians and scientists who do good work, but not necessarily for free??  And, until more definitive proof of causal agency is uncovered, maybe developing some contingency control and risk mitigation procedures and planning — not necessarily always done for free??

        i recognize that all knowledge always comes with a price, but ignorance always eventually comes with a much higher price …

        • mamajama55 says:

          Yes, further research needed and paid for, although it will probably be 50 degrees below zero in Brazil before there is any serious research which might implicate Sumimoto (Monsanto's affiliate) for contributing to disabling birth defects in infants.

          Let's all get on the Zika train, instead. Ebola hysteria worked out so well for so many politicians.

  7. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    If one can recall the 2015 legislative session, Senator Lundberg was a prominent voice in claiming, erroneously, that IUDs are aborti-facients. Looks like he's wrong yet again.

    • Pseudonymous says:

      I'd like to suggest a Mad Lib for that one.

      If one can recall the [year] legislative session, Senator Lundberg was a prominent voice in claiming, erroneously, that [anything] is/are [some crazy bullshit statement]. Looks like he's wrong yet again.


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