In the wake of huge measles outbreaks in Washington and around the country, Washington state lawmakers are pushing forth bills to tighten the mandate laws. Right now, you can contact your legislators! It is best to contact those for whom you are a constituent. Send an email or call and tell them why you support that vaccinations save lives, that personal belief exemptions are not based on sound science, that you prefer to get medical advice from your trusted doctor, and that you care about public health and community immunity.
The first bill up is House Bill 1638, a House bill authored primarily by Rep Paul Harris. This bill seeks to do away with the personal belief exemption to school vaccine mandates for the MMR, measles mumps rubella vaccine. (never fear, a bill from the Senate is coming soon to address the other vaccines for school). You can comment on the bill from the link! Do so!!
Update 2/15/19 – HB 1638 has cleared the House Healthcare committee by a vote of 10 to 5. This is great news.
Next up is Senate Bill 5841, which has many authors but whose main author is Senator Annette Cleveland, chair of the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee. This bill will be discussed on February 20 at 1:30 pm. This bill would remove the personal belief exemption for the rest of the vaccine recommended for children and mandated for school and daycare. You can go to the 5841 link and comment on this bill. Please do so!
Please contact your legislator via email or phone and give your support! Use this app to find your district. Tell them MMR is safe and effective and does not cause autism.
Tips: Be brief, be positive, focus on your agenda – is it your kids, you being immune compromised, your mother, your community?
You are welcome to cut and paste this sample letter into your email or comment:
I am writing to urge your support of HB 1638.
Measles is the most contagious disease known. Of all the diseases, this is the one we rely most on the people around us also being immune. Over the last few years, sporadic cases have been imported into the US, but they didn’t spread and turn into outbreaks because they landed in highly immunized communities. There was nowhere for the virus to go and it died out. But this time it found fertile ground in a community full of unimmunized children. Their parents had opted for philosophical exemptions. The gross majority had no medical reasons why they couldn’t be immunized. Their parents just chose not to. As a result, Washington and Oregon are wrestling with an outbreak, spending tremendous resources to keep it contained. Thirty percent of those kids will have complications, and it’s possible that years down the road, some will die from SSPE, an always-fatal brain complication of measles.
HB 1638 would remove the philosophic exemption for MMR. It will not result in 100% of kids being immunized. It won’t even result in 100% of eligible kids being immunized. But it will help increase the rate of immunization and decrease the likelihood of another outbreak.
Vaccinating parents are the majority in Washington State. The entirety of the panel who spoke against HB 1638 at the health care committee hearing was flown in from out of state. They make their livings sowing fear around vaccines. They are not practicing doctors. They are not members of our community, and they do not represent the true interests of our community.
Thank you for the work you do for our community.