The latter claim would have been laughable had it been made in any other year. But it is painfully ignorant during the pandemic when people are waiting for the shots and those who have received them are calling the vaccines “miracles” that will bring COVID-19, not people, under control.
More troubling, as Gothenburg Sen. Matt Williams pointed out during the hearing, the bill could be read to allow Nebraskans to decline a vaccine at any time for any reason. The public health danger that could create has never been more apparent.
The anti-vaccination movement dates back to the earliest vaccines in 1800, and has been amplified in the last two decades by celebrities, the internet and social media.
That effort against vaccines as Dr. Michelle Walsh, president of the Nebraska Medical Association testified, has led to declining immunization rates and increasing instances of measles, mumps and whooping cough, diseases that had largely been stamped out by vaccines.
And Walsh rightfully cautioned that the bill would likely undermine existing requirements that all children who attend school in Nebraska, public or private, must be immunized against polio, chickenpox, measles, mumps and rubella.
“We have serious concerns that LB643 would be contradictory to these existing policies and allow parents to opt out with no sincere reasons,” Walsh told the committee. “This would, in effect, raise the rates of future types of preventable disease outbreaks, which have been under control for decades.”