2016 Bills

HB221: Imposing Hurdles for Parental Choice in Vaccinating Children

This bill passed the House 38-37, was substituted in the Senate to be a much different bill, passed 22-1, but was not considered by the House after being changed.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill.

Current law in Utah allows a parent of a child in a public or private school to abstain from (or delay) vaccinations based on a personal or religious exemption. To qualify, parents must obtain and complete a form from their local health department to claim the exemption. The signed form is filed with the child’s school.

Close to 20 states provide for a personal exemption from vaccination requirements, and nearly all provide for religious exemptions. Most recently, the law in California was changed to prohibit the personal exemption, becoming the third state to do so in addition to West Virginia and Mississippi.

Representative Carol Spackman Moss has sponsored House Bill 221, which imposes a variety of hurdles and requirements on parents seeking the personal exemption for the vaccinations of their children in government schools.

Presently, exemption forms are one-time affairs. Once complete, they are attached to the student’s permanent school record and are transferred with that record to the student’s new school, should the student’s family move. HB221 would require parents to annually submit a new form for medical exemptions, and complete an “online education module,” as explained below. Completion of these forms often carries a fee for each child, in addition to the increased time burden required each year as a condition of receiving the exemption.

Those wishing to claim a personal or religious exemption must submit a form one time only, yet every year must complete the “online education module.” This government propaganda portal will contain information about vaccine preventable illnesses, recommendations on how unvaccinated individuals should behave to minimize the risk of contracting or transmitting a vaccine preventable illness, information about vaccine benefits and side effects, and interactive questions or activities.

Completion of this online course is mandatory—never mind the fact that many parents who delay or abstain from vaccination for their children do so after significant study of medical research and the benefits and risks of vaccinations. Requiring parents to be indoctrinated from biased sources of information (because the government rarely admits to the risks involved in vaccinating children) is violative of their fundamental rights as the stewards of their children’s information.

  • MCAH

    This bill is absolutely against liberty. A parent shouldn’t even need any sort of exemption in the first place. Whether or not vaccines are safe and effective has nothing to do with legally requiring them. Assuming they were completely safe and had zero risks, a person should still have the right to decide what is put into their body, that is one of our most basic rights. It is the one thing you own that no one should be able to take away from you or dictate to you how to treat it. We do not have the right to be guaranteed that we aren’t exposed to contagious illness, that’s part of life. There are many contagious illnesses that we don’t have a vax for, just because one is available for some of them doesn’t mean we have an increased right to not be exposed to that disease. 

    The connection to school and vax requirements is inappropriate. Many states are fighting to completely do away with any exemptions should a person want to go to public school. Since it is possible to be vaccinated and still not be immune, why isn’t proof required in the form of a titer check to show that a person is actually immune and not just that they have received the shots? Why are the teachers and staff not required to submit proof of immunity? We now know that vax protection isn’t nearly as long as originally thought so many adults are walking around breathing on each other with limited immunity to contagious diseases. What about the immune-compromised that cannot receive a vax? Who is the authority that decides whether that person has a valid enough compromise that they get an exception? What about those who have been recently vaccinated with a live virus that causes them to be contagious for up to 6 weeks? Why are they allowed in schools and public? How will banning children from school completely protect the general public? Unless you don’t go to the store, don’t receive mail at your house, don’t visit another person, don’t get your food from any source but your own, you ARE exposed to contagious diseases. We do not require people to prove vaccines or immunity to diseases in order to be allowed out in public, and should not be making stricter requirements on young, developing children. 

    We also have to consider where the line is. There were only a handful of required vax when I was growing up. Now there are several dozen. With more being worked on each day, where is the line? We used to get our last Pertussis vax before high school. Then they said adults need a booster every five years, now they are saying every 2 years. What about when it’s every 6 months? What about when we have so many vax available that we would have to be getting 3-4 a month to keep up? Do we still get to require it then? Everyone has a line, who gets to decide where it is legally? What about those who were exposed to the diseases naturally before they were vaxxed and now have a natural immunity? Bottom line…in a world that says “My body, my choice…” vaccines should be no exception, and no special education or exemptions should be required for a person to decide what they inject into their body.

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