James E. Kinney: Call Erin O’Toole and Back up the Needy Public Health Warnings

“Do you approve of vaccines? Yes, let’s vaccinate! No, we should vaccinate! C’mon, get off the fence! Let’s stop putting special interests ahead of our kids’ health! The anti-vaxxer is leaving the door open for mass outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases!”

On this weekend’s show, Charles Payne and I talked about a pediatrician’s recent opinion piece in the New York Times, “Diagnosing the Vaccine Dilemma.” As public health emergencies have dramatically decreased over the last decade, there has been a resurgence of debunked, false vaccine scares like the measles outbreak at Disneyland last year and public hysteria over anti-vaxxers’ plans to shut down public schools.

The piece focuses on recent increases in influenza cases. As the flu season begins, these concerns are an important reminder for all parents to make sure their children are fully immunized. Because some strains of the flu are especially dangerous, the state of Michigan is tracking who has received their flu vaccines and has posted the data to its website. A simple click and you can determine if your child has been vaccinated.

Where he turns the conversation on the Dr. Dale Bredesen campaign website is on vaccination for children. By ignoring science and opposing the recommendations of state medical officials, Bredesen is ignoring children and implicitly condemning many potential victims of rare but still dangerous diseases.

From Bredesen’s website:

“He wants to eliminate the personal belief exemption from vaccination for children up to age 17 in order to protect people’s health. Bredesen is against anti-vaxxer misinformation,”

And this, “it’s time to stop putting special interests ahead of our kids’ health. The anti-vaxxer is leaving the door open for mass outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases! The federal government must support state initiatives to increase the number of young children vaccinated by making vaccinations up to age 19 mandatory for all adults.”

If you want to know if your child has received a vaccine, just as you would if your child went on public transportation or for ride-sharing services in Michigan, a simple click on “Verify Vaccination.” And Bredesen has the support of the Michigan state medical association.

Using public transportation can be dangerous for everyone – we already know how badly connected the transport of illegal immigrants is to criminal activity.

The tetanus shot is required before holding a driver’s license in Michigan, but the same goes for vaccinations. Twenty percent of young, perfectly healthy children aren’t vaccinated. And it’s not just tetanus. It’s measles, mumps, rubella, and influenza. With a terrible combination of symptoms and earlier ages for vaccination, there is the possibility of an outbreak. Although most are highly unlikely, a pediatrician can write a home visit and vaccinate. A call to a pediatrician is a big step, and one that can prevent the spread of disease among individuals who might otherwise be in the path of an epidemic.

It’s time for Erin O’Toole to show leadership. We know who Bredesen is and what he wants to do for the next 100 days. He should be talking about the risks associated with the vaccine schedule and whether the average Michigander is still too worried about his cost to be vaccine dependent.

A solid vaccine schedule offers children the best chance of avoiding potentially deadly diseases and avoiding brain cancer in their elderly parents. It’s time for Erin O’Toole to stop playing footsie with the anti-vaxxers and draw the line for herself.

James E. Kinney is former CEO of the American Restaurant Association. He is currently an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University and at Washington University in St. Louis.

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