Bill concerning vaccinations up for debate at state capitol
JEFFERSON CITY – A bill before the Missouri House of Representatives on Monday would modify the current law in Missouri surrounding vaccinations.
H.B. 711 would prohibit an elementary school, secondary school, public institution of higher education, daycare or physician’s office from turning a child away if they have received an exemption from vaccinations due to medical or religious reasons.
Rep. Lynn Morris, R-Christian County, said he is not against vaccinations himself. In fact, he vaccinated his own three children. However, Morris said he’s heard from hundreds of parents who have been “discriminated” against even after obtaining legal exemption from vaccinations.
“I think we need to get clarification,” Morris said. “Schools are not supposed to exempt people, but some parents are forced to take their kid out of one school and put them in another school.”
Morris said he saw the detrimental effects of vaccine injuries in his time as a pharmacist. He said this is a valid reason for a child to be medically exempt, and parents should not be “bullied” into later getting those vaccinations for their children.
Amanda Kimbell’s parents chose not to get her vaccinated as a child for religious reasons. She said she remembers almost being turned away from the nurse’s office at her public high school.
“She’s like, ‘oh, well she needs to have all these shots before she can come here,’” Kimbell said. “My step dad fought it, so they let me in. But barely.”
Kimbell is now 22 years-old. She decided to start vaccinating herself once she turned 18 years-old. She works in a daycare and said she would feel horrible if she got any of her kids sick from not being vaccinated.
“I think that’s just our duty to protect each other,” Kimbell said. “I think it’s common sense.”
Morris said he’s heard from several parents throughout mid-Missouri planning to testify in support of the bill at its hearing, which he expects will have “standing room only.”
The hearing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.