Some people upset over proposed KDHE vaccine requirements

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Two vaccines could be added to the list of vaccines children are required to get to go to school in Kansas, and some people aren’t happy about it.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment held a hearing Thursday morning on the proposed change.

The new regulation would add Hepatitis A and Meningitis vaccines to the list of requirements.

“I just believe it should be our informed decision between us and our doctor. I’m not saying doctors are bad. If a parent chooses to vaccinate, that is their freedom and their choice,” said Debbie Mize, a concerned Kansas Citian.

“I don’t want to vaccinate, I don’t want another vaccine,” she said.

Some argued that the diseases targeted aren’t worth the possible side effects kids could get from the vaccines.

“For the sake of one or two kids that have Meningitis, put thousands of kids at risk for all kinds of long-term effects from the vaccine is beyond belief, it’s actually tyranny,” said Connie Newcome, a health consultant in the state.

But a few people also spoke in favor of vaccines. They pleaded with others that vaccines are the best way to go.

“As my kids grow up they’re going to experience sadness and heartache, and that’s just part of growing and developing,” said Dr. Gretchen Homan, Chair of the Immunize Kansas Coalition.

“I cannot shield them from all those things, but the things I can protect them from like infectious disease, I will make that choice, and my kids are fully vaccinated and I don’t have to worry that they’re going to get sick,” she said.

Atchison Representative John Eplee also spoke at the meeting. He works as a family doctor.

“Having seen the morbidity that comes from Meningitis, having seen the morbidity that comes from children getting dehydrated from Hepatitis A, just the facts folks, just what I’ve seen, I guarantee that on balance it is for the greater good that we are here today,” he said.

A state statute allows people to opt out of vaccine requirements if they have a religious or medical reason.

The Centers for Disease control says both vaccines are safe and effective.

The proposed vaccines will need final confirmation from the KDHE secretary to be put in place for the 2019-2020 school year. The department is currently reviewing comments from Thursday’s meeting.

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