When will post-truth thinking extend to buildings and bridges, which will remain intact because of faith rather than physics?
Stephanie Innes of Arizona Central writes the state of Arizona has canceled a vaccine education program after receiving complaints from parents who don’t immunize their school-age children.
The pilot online course, modeled after programs in Oregon and Michigan, was created in response to the rising number of Arizona schoolchildren skipping school-required immunizations against diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough because of their parents’ beliefs.
But some parents, who were worried the optional course was going to become mandatory, complained to the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council, which reviews regulations to ensure they are necessary and do not adversely affect the public. The six-member council is appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey, with an ex-officio general counsel.
Members of the council questioned the state health department about the course after receiving the public feedback about it, emails show. The state responded by canceling it.
The complaints that ended the pilot program came from about 120 individuals and families, including 20 parents who said that they don’t vaccinate their children, records show.
“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 Aug. 6 email to a Glendale school official, along with a notification about the course’s cancellation.
In an email to two Health Department staff members on Aug. 14, Jones wrote 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,” said state Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, who spent the last three legislative sessions as chairwoman of the House Health Committee and helped create the pilot program.
“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.”
Kindergartners in Maricopa County as a whole are now below herd immunity for measles, said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.
Maricopa County reflects national trends that show people who choose not to vaccinate their children tend to be higher income and white, sh
The American Academy of Pediatrics views non-medical vaccine exemptions to school-required immunizations “as inappropriate for individual, public health, and ethical reasons and advocates for their elimination,” a September 2016 policy statement says.
A California law that took effect in 2016 — a little more than a year after a measles outbreak erupted at Disneyland and spread to include seven Arizona cases — prohibits personal belief exemptions. Children in California may still get exemptions for medical reasons, as long as their exemption is signed by a licensed physician. Otherwise, they aren’t allowed to enroll in school.