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To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, whose choice should it be?

JACKSON, Miss.- Wednesday on the second floor of the Mississippi State capitol parents pleaded with legislators to allow them the ability to choose whether to vaccinate their children or not. 

“We want the law changed,” said parent Jessica Kelly. “The law states now, that it is mandatory that we get vaccinations or our children do not go to public or private school.”

The press conference hosted by the Mississippi Parent for Vaccine Rights organization was lead by two-time Emmy award winning medical investigative journalist and the producer of the film Vaxxed- From Cover-up to Catastrophe, Del Bigtree.

“Over 65 percent of adults now have not had a booster shot in the last 10 years. That means they’re not immune to a single disease that we are vaccinated for,” said Bigtree. “Don’t put hurt immunity on the backs of innocent babies. March yourself to the hospital and get the 16 vaccines that you want to pump into that baby because you are the biggest danger to their immunity.”

Legislators had a private screening of the film and spoke with Bigtree about the issues brought up through the documentary. Also with Bigtree was Dr. Scott Guidry who is a Board Certified General and Vascular Surgeon from Hattiesburg.

Guidry said that allowing for medical exemptions for children when requiring vaccines would prevent useless harm coming to a child that could suffer from an allergy or reaction to the vaccine.

In Mississippi the recommended vaccines for children ages 0-18 include:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Rotavirus (RV) vaccines
  • Diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate vaccine.
  • Pneumococcal vaccines.
  • Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV)
  • Influenza vaccines.
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
  • Varicella (VAR) vaccine.
  • Hepatitis A (HepA) vaccine.
  • Meningococcal vaccines.
  • Meningococcal conjugate ACWY vaccines:
  • Meningococcal B vaccines
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.

The parents argue that it should not be up to the state to decide whether their child is vaccinated or not.

“My son came down with two of the diseases he was vaccinated for shortly after and his immune system went to hell after that,” said April Howell.

Kelly and Howell both agreed that vaccines are good, they just want the ability to chose when those vaccines are given to their children.

Deanne Bond said her children are not vaccine injured, but as an RN and medical professional she questions if the vaccines are necessary.

“I think we should have a safe vaccine schedule if parents want those, but we give parents choices for everything these days except for chemicals being injected into your child or they can’t have a quality education,” said Bond. “This is bizarre and crazy and it makes Mississippi live up to it’s standards to be completely backwards.”

Rep. Mark Formby has authored a new bill that would not just give the choice to personal doctors, but to the parents.

“Last year we pushed forward the medical exemption bill that said if a doctor said that your child should not be vaccinated for a certain disease than you could be exempted from that disease,” said Formby.

However he says this year they’re bypassing the doctors and asking legislators to give the power back to the parent.

Currently 47 states have the option for medical or philosophical exemption from vaccinations. Formby said that the resistance to changing the current law is a fear factor.

Parents and advocates push for vaccine choice rights at the state capitol
Parents and advocates push for vaccine choice rights at the state capitol

“I finally began to do my own research and people are afraid. When someone tells you that if you don’t get all these vaccinations then babies are going to die, it scares people.” said Formby. “There’s misinformation that goes around and people need to take the time to do the research.”

As the bill prepares to be reviewed by the House and Senate in the coming weeks Formby said he encourages lawmakers to look at states with laws allowing parents to make the choice and determine whether it will work here based on the statistics nationwide.



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