Colorado lawmakers say they want to fight one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country with a new law. House Bill 19-1312 will require all vaccine exemptions be submitted to the state health department or the local public health agency. Non-medical exemptions would need approval from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment or a local health agency. Rep. Kyle Mullica, a Democrat from Northglenn, is the main sponsor of the bill.
“Research shows the easier the process for opting out, the higher the exemption rate.” Dr. Sean O’Leary, a pediatrician, said via cpr.org.
“We also know the higher the exemption rate, the higher the risk for vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks,” O’Leary continued.
But a local parental rights advocacy group believes the bill compromises the rights of parents.
“This bill is just the slippery slope to making exemptions difficult and impossible to obtain,” said Pam Long with the Colorado Health Choice Alliance.
The vaccine rate for kindergartners is below 90% in Colorado.
Colorado’s governor is dissenting on bills that force higher rates of vaccines, as well.
“The minute you try to have the government forcing anybody to do something with their kids, you’re going to create distrust of vaccinations, which is already a problem,” Gov. Jared Polis said. “We want to go the other way.”