It’s easy to laud state lawmakers this year for succeeding at a variety of heavy lifts during the 120-day session that ended in May.
Important strides were made toward gun control, school funding and protecting the rights of women and all Colorado residents.
Left uncompleted again, however, is legislation to keep millions of Colorado children and others safe from easily preventable illness.
Colorado belies its reputation as being a Mecca for progressive, science-based decisions when it comes to its dangerously tepid school vaccine laws. The road to widespread vaccination for COVID, especially among children, was rough, but the state simply cannot seem to get control of the larger vaccination problem.
Colorado is one of the few states that does not make childhood disease vaccines mandatory.
Sure, state officials say it’s compulsory, but even after the legislature tweaked vaccine-laws two years ago, a dangerous number of parents still ignore or get around the law, sending their kids to school unvaccinated.
Colorado still has one of the worst vaccination rates in the nation, and it isn’t getting any better.
A sorry 91.8% of all Colorado students went to school fully vaccinated, state health officials reported last year.
Kindergarten immunization rates continue to be the worst, and most dangerous, with less than 87% of children going to school with all their mandatory vaccinations.
Health officials here and across the country agree that places like Colorado are doomed for outbreaks of measles or other easily preventable and potentially deadly diseases.
A large number of parents, and previous state lawmakers, have fallen victim to a pervasive ruse undermining immunization rates and public health.
That ruse is a regularly and completely discredited “study” run by a discredited doctor who fallaciously tied autism to childhood vaccinations. Some U.S. media irresponsibly published the claims despite experts exposing the author’s poor science, helping to legitimize them.
There is not one reputable pediatrician, pediatric organization, hospital, clinic or researcher that does not vehemently work to debunk the autism lie and beg parents to vaccinate their children.
Now, huge swaths of the public are at dire risk across the nation. Measles is not an inconvenience. It can easily be deadly to children and adults with compromised immune systems who depend on “the herd” to remain disease free through mass immunization. It can be deadly to healthy children, too.
But states like Colorado have succumbed to ignorant parent pressure and continue to allow anyone to keep from vaccinating their child and attend public schools without a proven medical reason.
Health officials should find a way around reticent state lawmakers and adopt a measure like that in California, which requires vaccination of all children without a valid medical issue, or prohibits that child from attending public schools.
Likewise, programs such as league sports, Boy Scouts and others should also require immunizations or valid medical exemption to help protect all children.
In the four years since California has adopted the measure, compliance has nearly returned to safe standards, standards that virtually, and safely, eradicated these diseases.
Real scientists and medical professionals are unequivocal: The purported autism danger of childhood vaccines are lies. Dangerous lies.
In a state where real science rightfully rules decision making on so many issues, it’s past time to let science guide the state back toward mandatory vaccination.