Lawmakers Tout Vaccines; Boxer Introduces Head Start Legislation
More than 90 House lawmakers from both parties have signed on to a resolution (H Res 117) stating that vaccines "save lives and are essential to maintain the public health, economic and national security of" U.S. residents, The Hill's "Floor Action" reports (Marcos, "Floor Action," The Hill, 2/18).
The proposed resolution comes amid a measles outbreak that has infected more than 140 people from 17 states and Washington, D.C., as of Feb. 18 (Fox, NBC News, 2/18). The outbreak has shed light on the anti-vaccination movement, in which some parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children because of personal beliefs or concerns about safety. According to CDC, a majority of the people who contracted measles did not receive the vaccine (California Healthline, 2/11).
Resolution Urges Parents To Vaccinate Their Children
The proposed resolution, which was introduced by Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Thomas Marino (R-Pa.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.), also "urges parents, in consultation with their health care provider, to follow the scientific evidence and consensus of medical experts in favor of timely vaccinations to protect their children and their community."
Schiff in a statement said, "With the latest measles outbreak in California and elsewhere, it's more important than ever that children are vaccinated to prevent the spread of preventable and dangerous diseases -- including those that were previously eradicated."
Dent added, "It is unconscionable that children are being put at risk because of decisions based on faulty information and untruths" ("Floor Action," The Hill, 2/18).
California Lawmakers Push for Legislation to Increase Vaccinations
In related news, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has proposed legislation (S 486) in Congress that would require all children attending preschools that participate in the Head Start and Early Head Start programs to get vaccinated, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
Boxer at a Head Start center on Wednesday noted that vaccinating children "isn't just about measles -- last year, there were more than 10,000 cases of whooping cough in the state of California." She added, "At the same time, we are seeing troubling signs here in California that a growing number of parents are not getting their children fully vaccinated."
Meanwhile, California state Sen. Richard Pan (D) -- a pediatrician who toured the Head Start center with Boxer -- and state Sen. Ben Allen (D) are expected to soon introduce a measure that would repeal
California's personal-belief exemption to vaccination requirements for children. In addition, the measure aims to better ensure that parents are informed of the vaccination rate at their child's school, according to the AP/Bee (Bender, AP/Sacramento Bee, 2/18).
For more on proposed California vaccination legislation, see today's "Insight."
Wash. House Advances Bill To Remove Some Vaccination Exemptions
In other related news, the Washington state House Health Care & Wellness Committee on Wednesday voted 10-5 to advance a bill that would remove the state's personal and philosophical exemptions to vaccination requirements for children, the AP/Bee reports.
Washington is one of 20 states that allow a personal-belief exemption from school immunization requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The measure, which is supported by Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and the Washington State Medical Association, could be voted on by the full state House in the coming weeks, according to the AP/Bee (AP/Sacramento Bee, 2/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.