In the AZ Lege, there are three Bills that critics fear would lead to dip in vaccinations advance reports Howard Fischer in the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required). His report also appeared in the Daily Star as Measures approved by Arizona lawmakers could result in fewer children being vaccinated.
Arizona lawmakers approved three measures that foes say could result in fewer children being vaccinated, even amid outbreaks of measles in pockets across the nation.
Members of the House Committee on Health and Human Services voted 5–4 along party lines to:
- Require that parents be given extensive information about the risks of vaccines, including multipage inserts that are prepared for doctors, a list of the ingredients and how to file a claim for damages;
- Expand the exemptions available to parents who do not want their children to receive state-mandated vaccines and eliminate a requirement that parents review and sign a form informing them of the risks;
- Mandate that parents be given the option of having their children tested first to see if they already have immunity.
The votes came over the objections from a string of doctors and other medical professionals who told lawmakers that the changes will undermine public health, at least in part by inundating parents with information that will only confuse them and cause them to have second thoughts.
“Any message you send today indicating a skepticism of vaccines harms the health of our community,” said Steven Brown, a Phoenix doctor. He said lawmakers should make decisions based on science.
“Childhood immunizations are the great public health accomplishment of the past hundred years,” he said.
In Scriber’s view, all this boils down to those who know and trust science versus those who instead trust anecdotes and hearsay. The following excerpts make my case.
Rep. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, the sponsor of all three bills, said she’s not necessarily opposed to vaccines.
“These are not, in my view, anti-vaccine bills,” she said. “They are discussions about fundamental individual rights.”
But Thursday’s testimony was not evenly balanced, with Barto giving those who question the medical safety of vaccines two uninterrupted hours to make their case.
Some of the … testimony was more personal, like Pamela McLeod, a pediatric nurse whose two children have autism, though she noted that one developed the condition before getting his first shots.
“If parents want more information, give it to them,” McLeod told lawmakers.
“I’m not saying vaccines cause autism,” McLeod told lawmakers. “I’m just saying that there are questions and I would have just loved to be given the information that I could have made that choice.”
Science tutorial break
There are three conditions to conclude a cause-effect relation. (1) A and B are correlated, that is, they occur together. If A goes up or goes down, so does B. (2) A precedes B. In order for A to cause B, A must occur first. (3) Other possible causes of B are eliminated.
We don’t even have to get to (3) because McLeod’s testimony violates (2). One of her children developed autism before getting a shot. The shot cannot possibly have caused the autism if it occurred after the onset of the autism. The proponents of Barto’s bills need to look elsewhere for causes of autism.
So where is Barto coming from?
[HB 2470] expands the religious exemption that now exists to cover children in all grades. That exemption is now permitted only for day care and preschool.
There already is a separate personal exemption that covers students through high school. But Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, said she believes the religious exemption is broader.
… what HB 2470 also would do is eliminate the requirement that parents who want the religious exemption must review and sign a form prepared by the Arizona Department of Health Services.
“Now somebody could just write on a napkin, ‘I’ve decided not to vaccinate my baby’ and put them in a child-care center,” said Rep. Kelli Butler, D-Paradise Valley.
What that also means is parents would no longer have to review and sign a form acknowledging that refusing to vaccinate can subject their children to specific risks.
For example, that form says the failure to immunize against measles can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death. And it tells parents that if they refuse to provide polio shots that can result in paralysis, brain infections, permanent disability and death.
So the state legislature is posed to make our schools disease factories in the name of parental, religious choice. They’ve been at this for years. Let’s hope that if Barto’s bills get a vote that Ducey will have to good sense to veto them.