A Utah lawmaker has introduced three bills that would attempt to streamline and clarify the process for vaccinating kids in Utah.
The way Representative Norm Thurston of Provo sees it there are three camps of parents when it comes to deciding whether or not to get their kids vaccinated. There are parents who intentionally don’t get their kids vaccinated for personal, medical, or religious reasons. There are parents who believe vaccines are important for the greater public health. And then there’s a third group.
"There’s a third type of parent that’s kind of in the middle.You have parents who don’t have a particular objection to their children getting vaccinated but they don’t maybe have the time or resources to get the job done," Thurston says.
Thurston says right now, inconsistencies in the way vaccinations are given at health departments causes parents to opt-out of vaccinations out of convenience rather than an intentional choice.
These three bills would make sure vaccines are affordable for all kids, create an online education program for parents whose kids haven’t been vaccinated, maintain rules that say kids can’t attend school unless they’ve been vaccinated or chosen to be exempt, and create a confidential record of kids’ vaccination status to be shared between schools and health departments.
"At the end of the day we want parents to be able to have access to the services they want for their child," he says.
These bills are based on House Bill 221 from last year, which died after much debate and several revisions. This year Thurston hopes to have support from groups on all sides on the issue.