House committee to hold hearing on immunization bill

The House Health Care Committee will hold a public hearing on Senate bill S.199, a bill that would eliminate the philosophical exemption allowing parents to enroll children in public school without immunizations.

The hearing will be held Wednesday, March 21, in room 11 at the statehouse from 6 to 8 p.m. Witnesses, who will each have approximately three minutes to testify, can start signing up to speak at 5:30 p.m.

Children shouldn't be opted out of good health

By Dr. Louis DiNicola, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter

There are many laws designed to protect children from harm – seat belt requirements, child labor restrictions and prohibitions against underage drinking come to mind – that parents aren't allowed to simply opt out of. So why then are parents allowed to opt out of getting their children vaccinated against potentially deadly and disabling diseases such as measles, meningitis, polio and whooping cough?

Bills seek to boost immunizations by eliminating philosophical exemption

Two bills that would remove the philosophical exemption from the requirement that all children attending school and child care facilities receive immunizations have been introduced by Senator Kevin Mullin and Representative George Till, M.D.

According to the Times-Argus, S.199 and H.527 would “revoke the philosophical exemption, leaving parents with the choice of either administering the shots or finding alternative schooling options for their children. Both bills retain the religious and medical exemptions, which combined accounted for fewer than 50 opt-outs in 2010.”