- Arizona cancelled an education program about vaccines that was created in response to a rising number of children not getting school-required vaccinations.
- School-mandatory immunizations prevent against diseases including measles, mumps and whooping cough.
- Parents complained about the program, saying they feared it might become mandatory.
The State of Arizona cancelled an education program about vaccines after parents who don’t immunize their children complained.
The online program was created in response to a rising number of children not getting school-required vaccinations because of their parents’ beliefs, according to AZ Central.
School-mandatory immunizations prevent against diseases including measles, mumps and whooping cough.
Parents complained about the program, which was modeled off of similar courses in Oregon and Michigan, to the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council, citing fears that the course could become mandatory.
Complaints came from about 120 individuals, including 20 parents who are against vaccinating their children.
Members of the council, appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey, raised questions about the course to the state health department, which ultimately canceled the program.
“We’re so sorry we couldn’t make a go of this — strong forces against us,” Brenda Jones, immunization services manager at the Arizona Department of Health Services, wrote in an August 6 email about cancellation.
Jones later wrote to Health Department staff members that there had been “a lot of political and anti-vaxx” feedback.
“I’m not sure why providing ‘information’ is seen as a negative thing,” state Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, told AZ Central. “Providing information doesn’t take away a parent’s choice to seek an exemption. … This is a major concern. Vaccines have saved lives for generations. We all want to live in safe and healthy communities.”
According to the CDC, the percentage of children in the US who have not received recommended vaccines has been growing, and so has the vaccine exemption rate.
The percentage of two-year-olds who had received no vaccinations rose to 1.3% among children born in 2015, up from 0.9% in 2011.
The median rate of kindergarten children with vaccine exemptions has risen for the third year in a row, to 2.2%.
Reasons people don’t vaccinate their children include religious beliefs and safety concerns, according to the US National Library of Medicine.
Some believe that vaccines could lead to autism. Not vaccinating children could put them at risk of contractracting other diseases.