AZ lawmakers react to vaccination debate

AZ lawmakers react to vaccination debate

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Posted: Feb 03, 2015 4:40 PM
Updated: Feb 03, 2015 4:50 PM

By Jason Barry

PHOENIX (CBS 5) – The nationwide measles outbreak has sparked new debate over vaccinations, and whether parents should be allowed to opt out.

Kristina Krump knows a lot of parents who don’t vaccinate their kids, but the Phoenix mom is not one of them.

Krump said that she believes vaccinations are one of the keys to keeping her three boys healthy.

She only wishes all families felt the same.

“I am not necessarily in favor of more rules and regulations,” said Krump. “But there are certainly protections that we’d like to have. I don’t want to feel my children’s health is threatened when they’re getting an education.”

CBS 5 News went to the state Capitol on Tuesday to see if Arizona lawmakers have any plans to address the vaccination debate, and possibly change current Arizona law which allows parents to opt out of school vaccine requirements for personal, religious or medical reasons.

State Rep. Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley, is an emergency room physician, who preaches the importance of vaccines.

He wants to work with other lawmakers to reduce the number of vaccine exemptions.

“I think we should look at everything because we’re seeing whooping cough, measles, all diseases that we thought we eradicated coming back, and it’s because we’re not getting enough kids immunized,” said Meyer.

But Republican state Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, doesn’t agree.

He insisted that current state law is working just fine – providing parents with a choice when it comes to immunizations.

Smith and many of his colleagues have no plans to introduce new vaccination legislation.

“There’s one thing to do an ad campaign, and say ‘hey, look, we think this is a good idea,’” said Smith. “But it’s entirely another when you are going to start legislation and mandating families about what they do with their healthcare.”

One state lawmaker recently introduced a bill that would require that Arizona schools post the percentage of kids immunized at that school – so parents can have more information on where to send their children.

A similar bill failed last year.

Copyright 2015 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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