CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Whether you are for or against getting your kids vaccinated state legislators and health officials say, it's time we protect all kids statewide.
Filed on the first of this month by State Senator Lauren Book, State Bill 1936 is proposing to eliminate non-medical vaccine exemptions for school-aged children, meaning religious reasons or simply choosing not to vaccinate your child without medical clearance simply won't cut it.
In a statement, Senator Book tells Fox 4,
“Every child deserves to go to school free from disease, but Florida’s overly broad vaccine exemption law has put our children in danger of serious preventable diseases like measles,” For immune-compromised children, these diseases can cause life-threatening illness or death. We must rein in these exemptions to protect the health of our children, our communities, and our state’s tourism-driven economy – especially in the wake of COVID-19.” said Senator Lauren Book.
Although it hasn’t been scheduled for discussion and will likely face a challenge passing on the floor, The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics says they stand behind Senator Book because immunization rates have decreased.
“So we’ve heard from county health departments across the state, that there have been a lot of parents that have been requesting these non-medical exemptions, and they claim it's for religious reasons. What we do know is that very very few religions have this type of rule and so there is a lot of misinformation out there. For the most part, these parents have more of a philosophical reason for not having their children vaccinated,” said Dr. Lisa Gwynn, President of The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Lisa Gwynn says diseases like polio and measles are still around, and now living with COVID-19 in our communities, the risks are even greater for your child.
However, Gwynn adds the goal of vaccines is to simply create herd immunity.
“What that means is that once you achieve certain levels of vaccination rates, it protects the entire community. There are people, children, and adults that can’t receive vaccinations and therefore they are very vulnerable to disease. So you’re not only protecting your children but you're also protecting people who can’t get immunized,” said Gwynn.
In the meantime, Gwynn, asks parents who are against vaccinating their kids to simply think about the risk you could be posing onto others.
“Stick with science-based references to make sure that when you are making decisions for your child that you are making those decisions in an informed science-based way,” said Gwynn.