Shooting Down Vaccination Exemptions
by: Thrinav Sathya
This year, the Waubonsie Valley delegation is making waves by proposing a bill ending religious exemption from vaccination. Zachary Overstreet, Senate Sponsor, said they wrote this bill because “We found the topic to be controversial and interesting.”
Two religions, the Church of Christ, Scientist and the Dutch Reformed Church, forbid vaccination, and account for about less than 1% of the population. “That small percent of the population would not be allowed in public schools if their children are not vaccinated. They would have other options, such as the free online school in which we are working on.”
Despite its description, the bill does contain several riders, relating to various aspects of anti-vaccination individuals’ impact on society as a whole. While the bill states its intended purpose is to end religious exemption from vaccination, it will also remove unvaccinated children from public schools. Private schools will be allowed their age-old autonomy on the debate. The bill also aims to introduce a free online school targeted towards unvaccinated children who would not be allowed in public schools.
The bill is likely to face major opposition from anti-vaccination groups and individuals for its perceived infringement of their rights as citizens. “We haven’t really encountered another problem, other than the money problem, since private schools are a lot more expensive than public schools,” said Overstreet, who believes the online school is likely the solution to this problem.