Springfield doctor cautions against loosening vaccine requirements for kids


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A bill in the Missouri House of Representatives could loosen requirements for vaccinating students who attend certain schools.

The bill was filed by Camden and Laclede County Representative Suzie Pollock. She said she wants to protect the freedom to choose whether to vaccinate children.

“I filed house bill 37 to protect, like, 1% of the population,” said Pollock. “It doesn’t take any vaccinations off the normal childhood schedule.”

Those who oppose the bill say outbreaks could come back if kids are not vaccinated.

Doctor Kayce Morton, with the Jordan Valley Community Health Center, said it will be harmful if the bill passes.

“We’ve already started seeing outbreaks, like, around the world and even in Missouri, like the measles and whooping cough, as well as Hepatitis A,” said Morton.
Pollock believes an outbreak could be handled if it were to happen.

“You know, it’s simple,” said Pollock. “If there’s an outbreak, these children stay home. That is part of the exemption rules. So, their fears are unrealistic.”

Morton said requiring certain vaccines for private schools will actually help the state save money.

“In the long run, if we have more vaccine-preventable diseases out there that are coming up, that means we’re going to be spending more money to assess them,” said Morton.

However, Pollock said if the bill becomes a law, it wouldn’t cost a thing.

“There is a zero-fiscal cost to this bill,” said Pollock. “It’s not going to cost us anything.”

The bill is currently on the House’s informal calendar of perfection and is expected to be taken up for a third reading and a vote.

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