Friday, May 17, 2013

Anti-Vax Parents vs. Pro-Vax Parents in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health has proposed changes to current state immunization rules. These changes would merely bring Minnesota Immunization Rules into line with current CDC immunization recommendations. Predictably, anti-vaccine parents have protested these changes, which, in fact, do not affect them in any way, since the changes do not touch the philosophical exemption clause (much to my disappointment). There will be a hearing on these changes on June 27th, 2013, because more than twenty-five people asked for one. Chances are the people who asked for this hearing are anti-vaccine voices. And, as is unfortunately routine, those proposing these much-needed changes to immunization law, are hearing almost solely from anti-vaccine voices. Here is an opportunity for pro-vaccine parents to step forward and speak up in favor of vaccines. If you are a Minnesota parent, please write a letter of support regarding these rule changes. And please attend the hearing on June 27th, 2013, at 9:30 am to make your voice heard. 

Below is my letter.

To Whom it May Concern:

I am a Minnesota parent who is fully in support of the Minnesota Department of Health's proposed new immunization rules strengthening Minnesota immunization statutes and bringing them in line with current CDC recommendations. In the past three years, we have seen measles outbreaks in Hennepin County due to undervaccination, as well as one of the highest pertussis rates in the country. As a parent, I find this abominable. The economic cost of these outbreaks is substantial; the human cost is infinitely higher. And these outbreaks are preventable, if parents would vaccinate their children on schedule. 

I am also angry that my fully vaccinated children attend school with children whose parents have chosen not to protect their own offspring with vaccines, and therefore put their immuno-compromised classmates, and the infant siblings of others, at risk of contracting vaccine-preventable disease. There are so few obstacles to anti-vaccine parents and they bear no burden by not vaccinating. That burden is borne by the members of the community, including other children. I find that deeply unfair.

These proposed changes are reasonable and much-needed. I wish they would go further, and make it at least as difficult to opt-out of vaccines as it is to actually keep you kids on the CDC-recommended immunization schedule. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on this matter on June 27th.
Ashley Shelby