Stephanie Innes at the Arizona Republic:
Disregarding warnings by public health officials, an Arizona legislative panel on Thursday endorsed three bills that critics say will erode immunization coverage among Arizona schoolchildren. The House Health and Human Services Committee approved all three bills in contentious 5-4 votes that were split along party lines, with Republicans favoring the measures and Democrats voting in opposition. Several critics pointed out measles outbreaks across the country and said the three bills could make Arizona more vulnerable.
One of the measures — House Bill 2470 — not only expands vaccine exemption categories in Arizona, it gives parents additional leeway by removing the requirement that they sign a state health department form to get a vaccine exemption.
...Bruce Y. Lee at Forbes:
Two other bills endorsed by the committee Thursday would create more work for physicians. House Bill 2472 requires doctors to offer parents an "antibody titer" blood test to determine whether their child needs a vaccine or is already immune. House Bill 2471 is an informed-consent bill that would give parents information about vaccine ingredients and vaccine risks, including how to file a complaint for vaccine injury.
Huh? The Grand Canyon may not be the only big gap in Arizona. Pushing these three bills through would seem like a huge gap between what is being done and what is truly needed. The state of Washington had to declare a statewide emergency and has already spent over a million dollars of taxpayer money dealing with the measles outbreak. All scientific evidence suggests that lower vaccination rates in Clark County, Washington, led to the outbreak. Therefore, the focus in Washington has been trying to increase vaccination rates.
On top of all this, Arizona may have the lowest measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination rates in the country at 84.1%, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey as Claire Cleveland and Jessi Schultz reported for the Cronkite News Service. Such a rate would be well below the 95% critical immunization threshold needed to prevent the measles virus from more readily spreading in a population, as I described previously for Forbes.