Friday, May 27, 2016

Eliminating non-medical vaccine exemptions in NC

Join the Put Kids First Campaign!

I'm the Legislative Chair of the Secular Coalition for North Carolina (SCNC), and we are holding our third annual lobby day at the North Carolina General Assembly on June 21. If you would like to participate in person please RSVP via our website before June 14. In addition to urging our state lawmakers to repeal HB 2 in full, we will also be lobbing them for a new bill to put kids first and eliminate non-medical vaccine exemptions in North Carolina.

Last year a bipartisan group of state senators introduced a modest bill that would have enacted stricter immunization requirements by repealing the religious exemption, revising vaccination requirements to make them more consistent with CDC recommendations, and requiring all students be screened for severe combined immunodeficiency prior to immunization. The bill was dropped by its co-sponsors less than two weeks after it was introduced - ironically enough on April Fools' Day.

As I noted in the op-ed I wrote for SCNC at the time, a vocal minority of misguided individuals quickly lashed out at the co-sponsors of the bill on their Facebook pages, and several dozen protestors rallied in Raleigh holding signs comparing mandatory vaccination to Nazi Germany, war crimes and terrorism. We hope that our state legislators are ready to listen to more reasonable voices on this issue. As the executive director at the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition, Stephanie Wasserman, recently told NPR, "It shouldn’t be easier to get an exemption than it is to get a vaccine."

Please consider joining SCNC for our lobby day in Raleigh, or join SCA's Put Kids First campaign and contact your NC state representatives to sponsor an updated immunization bill that addresses the concerns expressed by the North Carolina Pediatric Society last year. We need your help to encourage our state legislators to pass evidence-based policies and not be intimidated once again by a misinformed but vocal minority with a crash course in epidemiology from the University of Google.

Note: This post is part of a series on vaccine policy in NC.

Update: If you can't make it to Raleigh on June 21, you can still help with this effort. Just make sure you sign up for action alerts from SCA, and we'll send you alert alerts with details on what you can do locally to support our Lobby Day effort and future issues of concern for secular North Carolinians..

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