EDITORIAL: Needle legislative candidates to make sure they back mandatory vaccinations

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School’s back in session and state lawmakers are back asking for votes. Is your child vaccinated and will the legislator you’re voting for make sure other kids are vaccinated, too?

While what has become a hysterical presidential race has hogged voter attention this year, state House and Senate members in Aurora and across the state are pitching their ideas. Most are focusing on the economy, fracking, bathroom rules and a host of usual election-year suspects.

What most aren’t talking about this year is vaccination law. Make them talk.

Colorado regularly ranks worst or near-worst in the nation for vaccination rates, and it’s costing lives, health and millions of dollars.

The problem stems from past legislators, succumbing to fake science and political pressure, who were either sympathetic to odd parents who didn’t want to vaccinate their children, or shortsighted in thinking that making it easy to “opt-out” of mandatory vaccines was just no big deal.

The root of most of this building crisis comes from a regularly discredited study run by a discredited doctor to tie autism to childhood vaccinations, and the U.S. media bought the hoax, helping to legitimize it.  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.

In Colorado, it’s much easier to say that you don’t want to vaccinate children than to prove that you have.

Many lawmakers and much of the public erroneously believed that since the bulk of the “herd” was vaccinated against potentially lethal diseases such as measles, polio and whooping cough, we’re all protected.

They’re wrong. Dead wrong for some people. The incidence of those diseases continues to increase as vaccination rates decline. Last year reports of deaths of people with depressed immune systems sounded an alarm for all of us: Colorado, and the country, is at grave risk.

One death followed a measles outbreak at Disneyland last year that sickened 100 people, all because foolish, misled, selfish people have avoided childhood vaccination rules.

Real scientists and medical professionals have been unequivocal: The purported danger of childhood vaccines are lies. Dangerous lies.

Colorado must join California in solving an ailing public health problem that’s easy to cure. Last year, California virtually eliminated all exemptions to that state’s childhood vaccination policy.

The state lawmaker you vote for next month must do the same thing.

Colorado must join California and require every child who attends a public school or college undergo vaccination. The state cannot command these vaccinations, but lawmakers certainly can force scofflaws to stay away from public programs and venues. Schools, rec centers, colleges, day cares and employers should all demand that people comply with vaccination programs.

It’s almost unthinkable that a country like the United States would slide back decades in health care progress, risking the lives of millions of Americans potentially exposed to diseases we nearly eradicated — because of lies, laziness or ignorant fear.

If parents still won’t listen and comply, then lawmakers must act to protect the rest of the public, and even the naive or selfish from themselves. But first, we need to choose those legislators. Ask and choose wisely.