As measles cases reach their highest levels in 25 years in the United States, one Pennsylvania lawmaker is now pushing legislation which would make it harder for doctors to crack down on those who choose not to vaccinate their children.
Flanked by parents and children, Representative Daryl Metcalfe on Tuesday introduced House Bill 286, the Informed Consent Protection Act.
Metcalfe says, “We live in the United States of America, where you should have the freedom to decide what is injected inside your body or your child’s body.”
The bill would force doctors in Pennsylvania to treat unvaccinated children, limit what they can do to encourage families to get vaccinated and bar them from requiring patients or parents from having to sign a liability waiver if they decline or delay vaccinations.
It comes as more than 700 measles cases are reported in the US, the highest this century.
Metcalfe says, “There’s this huge outbreak! Of, what? 300 million people in the United States of America. Look at some of the car accident rates and compare that to the number of people contracting measles.”
Dr. Rachel Levine, PA Health Secretary, says, “Measles was virtually eradicated from the United States in the year 2000. But, because of misinformation about vaccines, we’re now seeing this resurgence.”
Levine says the measles outbreak could have been prevented with people getting vaccinated and parents following their pediatrician’s vaccination schedule.
“The schedule is really planned out very carefully to be able to provide the right immunization when children need it most.”
Dr. Levine says Pennsylvania’s current vaccination rate is around 97%, above the 95% threshold for ‘herd immunity,’ but she’s concerned that vaccine issues continue to be spread.
“Immunizations are safe, and immunizations are effective.”
As we began our news, we found out from an ABC affiliate that Pittsburgh just officially announced their first case of the measles and said there may have been exposures at two grocery stores…