Bill would make opt-out of vaccinations easier

Posted: 7:45 AM, Dec 24, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-24 07:45:25-05

Maria Green has chosen not to vaccinate her 3-year-old daughter.

"Nobody could say that it's completely safe," Green explained. "Brain damage, seizures, cancer and actually death, a lot of the vaccines carry that risk."

In order for her daughter to attend daycare a few years ago, Green had to meet with her doctor to get the waiver and both had to sign it.

"It was a little bit of an extra step for us, like I said it's not convenient to not vaccinate," Green said.

And this past year, she said, it got more complicated. Parents could only sign the waiver after meeting with a county health official.

A process Representative Tom Hooker (R - Byron Center) called overkill.

"I can't believe that any parent that has gone to a doctor has not heard all the things from the doctors that are risks," he said.

That's why he's introduced two new bills in the house. One would get rid of the meeting and the other would make sure kids who aren't vaccinated can't be told to stay home if there's the threat of an outbreak in the classroom.

"To select kids that haven't been immunized, kick them out of school, but not those that are as likely or more likely to be a contracting that illness because you have one or two cases, that's really discriminatory," Rep. Hooker said.

But, the Department of Health and Human Services stands by the importance of vaccines and told FOX 47 the number of waivers has decreased as a result of the education.

Spokesperson, Angela Minicuci, explained, "Oftentimes it was just a matter of a parent couldn't get their child in to get their vaccination in time for the school year to start. So, this rule really helped them along the way of talking to a medical provider and even then getting the vaccinations with their local health department."

The two bills are currently in the House's Health Policy Committee.

Representative Hooker expects a hearing on them in the new year.