HB19-1312, an immunization bill, was introduced late in the current session as a direct attack on parental rights, bypassing the state stakeholder process in Colorado statute which convenes 25 health experts from all over the state to discuss any changes to the immunization and vaccine exemption requirements. The bill’s lead sponsor, newly elected Rep. Kyle Mullica, has worked exclusively with a GlaxoSmithKline lobbyist to add additional vaccine mandates to the Colorado vaccine schedule and create a government registry for any person exempting from any one vaccine for any reason: medical contraindication, personal objection to the adverse risks or lack of efficacy, or religious beliefs against controversial ingredients.
1000 people attended the House Health Committee hearing at the Capitol on April 15, 2019 to object to this bill. 575 people signed up to testify, with 500 of those being against the bill. Testimony lasted until 3:30 am and the committee vote commenced at 4:30 am, with a party-line vote, 7-4 in favor of the bill with no reasonable amendments accepted. Overwhelmingly, the parents opposed to the bill testified for 14 hours on specific reactions their children had to vaccines, while lawmakers ultimately dismissed them and deferred to a medical industry paradigm that vaccines are unique pharmaceutical products that can never cause an adverse reaction.
CO HB 19-1312: School Immunization Requirements “Concerning modernizing immunization requirements for school entry to improve vaccination rates.”
The “modernizing” part of the bill is a red herring to justify creating a registry designed to coerce vaccine uptake. The state will collect personal identifying information (PII) to a database for every person, child or adult, who opts out of any vaccine on the current or future schedule. The functions of the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) database include recall, reminder, and home visits. These are harassment, coercion, and intimidation tactics to override the private medical decisions of consumers. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has already, in advance of legislative authority, created a new state exemption form for parents that includes compelled speech, and a statement that parents are putting the child and the public at risk. The bill sponsor justifies this draconian registry in the event of an outbreak. Do we really need to collect sensitive identity information for medical preparedness? Colorado already maintains aggregate vaccine and exemption data reported by every school in the state that meets all needs for medical preparedness. Collecting people’s addresses and phone numbers show the intent to intrude and disrupt the lives of citizens who have not committed a crime. Parents currently submit a statement of exemption to the local school, which is protected by privacy protections in FERPA, and they agree to keep students at home in an outbreak. This system has worked since 1978, and there is no justification for state tracking of a minority group who represent only 2.6% of people.
The “improve vaccination rates” part of the bill is a red herring for doubling the vaccine mandates in Colorado. In the bill’s initial form to adopt all federal Advisory Committee Immunization Practice (ACIP) recommended vaccines, the bill added five new vaccines, which translates into 21 more doses, to the required for school entry list of vaccines. This would have included the HPV vaccine, a very controversial vaccine for sexually transmitted diseases, and the influenza vaccine, with a 40% effectiveness rate. Due to the backlash, the bill sponsor added an amendment in the second House reading that would remove HPV and Influenza but adopted mandates for Rotavirus, Meningococcal, and Hepatitis A. Rotavirus was recalled in 1999 for causing infant deaths by intussusception or telescoping colons. Meningococcal vaccine mandate was voted against by Colorado state health stakeholders because the disease is so rare that the program would cost millions of state dollars to potentially save one life. Hepatitis A vaccine mandate was voted down by lawmakers in 2002 in SB206 due to offending religious people with its aborted fetal cell lines in the ingredients and offending Latino families who felt targeted as disease-carrying people.
Clearly, these decisions of the vaccine schedule that affect one million students in Colorado should NOT remain in the hands of any one person, even if he is a nurse. Why is Rep. Mullica so eager to hand these decisions over to a federal ACIP committee that has no accountability to citizens in Colorado? Rep. Mullica has publicly stated that Colorado’s vaccine rates, which are reported by CDPHE to be between 90-95% in every vaccine, are “embarrassing.” How is he not proud that Colorado is one of the healthiest states in the nation? Rep. Mullica’s bill seeks to also register all physicians within the proposed state database who write valid medical exemptions so that they can be provided with educational materials on the benefits of vaccines. Rep. Mullica appears to be working on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry, and not the parents and doctors of Colorado. Would you consider reminding him that parents call the shots for their children?