TOPEKA — A fierce debate over a bill to let parents opt out of required vaccinations for their children based on personal beliefs presents lawmakers with a tough question: At what point do public health concerns outweigh parents’ right to decide what goes in their kids’ bodies?
Parents can already get exemptions from immunizations if their kids have medical conditions that make the shots risky, if they are home schooled, or if they belong to a religious group that opposes such preventive measures.
But some parents object to the inoculations based on personal beliefs and concerns over the safety of the medicine.
Major medical associations oppose giving more people ways to opt out of vaccines, citing studies that show required vaccines are safe and effective. But about 10 advocates of the bill presented the House Health and Human Services Committee compelling reasons Wednesday for why they want the freedom to object based on personal beliefs.
Consider Julie Patry’s story.
She is a clinical social worker in Wichita who watched her little sister suffer devastating brain damage and die from reactions to two vaccines. Now she has two young sons who will face government requirements that they be vaccinated.
“I definitely worry,” Patry said. “My sister died after the second vaccine. What medical professional wouldn’t give me an exemption?”
But so far, Patry has received no assurance that her children will get a pass.
Read the complete story at kansas.com