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The vaccine bill - again


Last updated 3/4/2020 at 12:01pm

Big bill in the Senate this past week was SB20-163 the Vaccine Bill – the official name "Concerning the Modernization of the School Entry Immunization Process, and In Conjunction Therewith, Making an Appropriation." Now you know why we just called it the Vaccine Bill.

Only marginally different than last year's bill that didn't make it to the Governor's desk, the primary issue is the same – who's responsibility is it to take care of a child's health, the parent or the government. The proponents feel they covered that issue with the "opt out" clause.

Before we get to the opt out provisions the goal of the bill is to have 95 percent of the students vaccinated. This number has been determined to give "herd immunity" to the whole student body. To have 100 percent is not realistic as there are some people with medical reasons and other students whose parents have objections based on firmly held beliefs and convictions. I can report that in the 17 school districts in Senate District 2 several individual schools currently meet the 95 percent target and that same report shows many hovering around the 80-percent rate.

The Public Health Department would like a record of and contact information for all non-vaccinated people in the state should they decide it is necessary to contact them in the case of an outbreak or pandemic. We heard from many people in Colorado that don't feel the government has the right to demand that information and do not trust the government's ability to keep their information secure.

The opt out clause has been simplified to either "Medical" or "Non-Medical", both of which have to be signed off on by a medical doctor. Much concern about why a medical doctor would sign off on a non-medical exemption but that requirement was still in the bill when it left the Senate and headed to the House.

One amendment that was added in the Senate was a Home School Exemption. No waiver, no registration with the state, no mandatory interactive video, no giving up your personal information. However, if a home school student participates in any public-school activity such as a half a day a week at school for physics and music or an after-school sport the local superintendent will make the call concerning to participate.

A few random facts – if you are 60 or older you probably had 6 or fewer vaccinations, the current list of recommended vaccines stands at 69 with one more to be added soon. Religious exemptions have been eliminated in several other states. In New York and California all non-medical exemptions were eliminated within five years of the elimination of religious exemptions.

Love it or hate it, with the specter of the Coronavirus looming out there, this bill, with possibly a few more amendments in the House, is destined to land on the Governor's desk this year.

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