PERRY: Use special legislative session to keep anti-vaxxers from vexing all of us

Opponents to ending the religious exemption from the state’s school vaccination requirements gather outside the State Capitol, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, in Hartford, Conn. Colorado lawmakers faced similar protests when trying to ensure more children are inoculated. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

The current pandemic illustrates perfectly that selfish and vapid are a toxic mix, but a special legislative session might be just what the doctor ordered.

Gov. Jared Polis and state lawmakers are planning a special get-together in the next few weeks to focus solely on the catastrophic pandemic, including its ravaging effects on schools, restaurants and families.

It’s a great idea to be able to avoid the distractions of a normal session, where lawmakers spin out of control fighting over whether God and the Founding Fathers wanted everyone to have gun clips that hold 500 rounds.

It’s also a great time to finally end the tyranny of anti-vaxers in Colorado who endanger the lives of themselves and all of us with their junk science and conspiracy cults.

Because of this pandemic, we’ve emptied the schools for the second time in a year because we can’t keep viral illness out of the schools, and we can’t keep the COVID-19 virus inside schools from moving out into the community. Every middle-school science student can explain that this is how a pandemic works.

The proud and obtuse community of anti-vaxxers, however, don’t care. They have successfully bullied Colorado lawmakers into allowing them to skirt mandatory childhood vaccine laws and send their infectious or vulnerable spawn to school to spread the love of anti-science among innocent schoolmates.

It’s so bad, that Colorado embarrassingly rides at the top of the list of states with dangerously low vaccination rates. Third-world countries better protect their children than does Colorado.

If you’ve loved closing schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re going to love when schools shut down because of outbreaks of measles, chicken pox, rubella and bacterial meningitis.

And if you think COVID-19 is just a bad cold, you’re probably among those who think rubella and mumps are just inconvenient rites of passage.

They’re dangerous and highly contagious pathogens that can be death sentences to many children and adults unable to tolerate vaccinations.

In the past few years, state lawmakers and Polis have been no help righting this infamous Colorado wrong. They agree every parent has a right to withhold life-saving vaccines from their kids at the expense of sickening or even killing other children and the infirm who cannot tolerate inoculation.

Instead of creating real mandates, the state has been working to make it just increasingly inconvenient to get around what science, medicine and the adults in the room agree are sensible and necessary requirements. Even states like Mississippi and Arkansas exhibit better sense about this than Colorado.

It’s not hard to understand. You either vaccinate your kids, prove they have a medical condition precluding the ability to tolerate a vaccine, or don’t send your kids to public school.

Despite all the bad news this week about shutting down the state again, without actually calling it a shut-down, to try and slow the wild-fire spread of the new coronavirus, there’s good news.

Two COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and astonishingly effective, about 95%. It means that if we can get these vaccines into the arms of the community, we have a real chance to end the pandemic.

You can see where this is going.

Given that the vaccine won’t do any good in freezers and storage lockers, and given the high level of conspiracy theorists and dolts who won’t even wear a freaking mask, or agree to require people who are too stupid or selfish to wear a mask, Colorado is going to have a problem. We’re likely to have salvation at our fingertips but unable to control the virus because too many people won’t use the vaccine or comply with distancing and mask requirements.

Time to kill two, or maybe more, pandemics with one written-in-stone law. Mandate vaccines for schools, warehouses, restaurants, manufacturing facilities, offices, government buildings and all the places that people gather and infect each other to death.

If state lawmakers don’t have the temerity to require every public-schools student prove novel coronavirus inoculation, at least make middle and high-school students get the shot or stay home and play on the Xbox all day.

It’s easy for the state to require health departments to require health cards to restaurant employees as a condition of employment, and for those who can’t prove current vaccinations, no card. Same for gig workers. Same for everyone. No card. No job.

Going too far? Almost a quarter-million Americans have lost their lives to the pandemic so far. Millions more have been critically sickened. Tens of millions face financial ruin.

No, mandatory vaccinations do not go too far. Anti-vaxxers have gone too far, and this is a rare opportunity to correct that problem.

State lawmakers during the special session should mandate new coronavirus vaccinations. At the same time, lawmakers can end the potentially deadly exemptions that allow anti-vaxers to skirt childhood vaccine mandates.

There is no better time to make sure everyone in the state understands the dangers of ignoring unequivocal science and common sense when it comes to communicable diseases than when just such a malady has brought every one of us to our knees.

End the charade and use the special session to mandate childhood vaccinations for public school students. End the current pandemic by mandating coronavirus vaccinations for everyone who works or goes to school. Stop capitulating to people who have a right to foolishly endanger their own lives, but not those of everyone else.

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