We all want the best for our kids. We want them to grow up in safe and healthy environments so they can truly reach the potential we, as parents, see in them.
My daughter was once fighting cancer and had absolutely no immune system. I had faith that my daughter could attend school during her two and a half year course of chemotherapy. I knew all the teachers and kids at school had been vaccinated with the required vaccines needed to attend school. The concept of herd immunity was near and dear to me before anyone had heard of COVID-19.
Now we have all experienced at least some of this anxiety through the pandemic. Life is getting back to normal. We have readily available vaccines to prevent, or at least minimize, the more serious symptoms of COVID-19.
Vaccines are a marvel. They keep diseases at bay that have wreaked havoc on societies for generations. The most successful vaccine before COVID-19 was the smallpox vaccine. It saved millions of lives and gave those of us vaccinated before the vaccinations stopped in 1972, immunity against monkeypox as well.
Why then did anyone vote in favor of HB1210, which allows opting out of mandatory vaccinations? Our entire Bedford Republican delegation in the State House and State Senate did just that this session. This bill is not just about COVID-19 and the unfounded fear that was spread over the rapid development of the vaccines to combat it. COVID-19 will not be the last pandemic most of us face. In all likelihood, there will be more pandemics. When new vaccines are developed in response to a new virus, we need to add them to the list of required public school vaccinations. This requirement should not just apply to school kids but to the public at large. Herd immunity to new and emerging diseases has to become the new normal to keep our communities safe.
My daughter is now five years post treatment and is doing very well. By all measures, she is cured. HB1210 has been sent to interim study, which is often a polite legislative death. This does not mean the bill can’t or won’t come up again, like a virus, in the next session. Keep this in mind in November. It is important to elect people that will act in your best interests in Concord.
Vaccines are safe and effective. Don’t we owe it to our sick kids, our elderly, and our infirm to make sure that we have herd immunity to every possible preventable disease? Let’s keep vaccines mandatory.