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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Pro-Polio Legislation in NH

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

UnfortunatelyRepublican politicians and conservative media figures are increasingly joining up with the anti-vaxxers.   Even before COVID, they were fighting vaccine mandates and other public health measures. 

The anti-vax movement has a great deal of overlap with MAGAQAnon, and old-school conspiracy theory.

New Hampshire could soon beat Florida—known for its anti-vaccine Surgeon General—when it comes to loosening vaccine requirements. A first-in-the-nation bill that’s already passed New Hampshire’s state House, sponsored only by Republican legislators, would end the requirement for parents enrolling kids in childcare to provide documentation of polio and measles vaccination. New Hampshire would be the only state in the US to have such a law, although many states allow religious exemptions to vaccine requirements.

Currently, Republicans control New Hampshire’s state House, Senate and governor’s office—but that isn’t a guarantee that the bill will be signed into law, with GOP Gov. Chris Sununu seemingly flip-flopping when it comes to disease control. Sununu did sign a bill in 2021 allowing people to use public places and services even if they did not receive the Covid-19 vaccine. But the next year, the governor vetoed a bill that would bar schools from implementing mask mandates.

Rises in anti-vaccine sentiments have largely been linked to concerns that vaccines cause health issues, like the debunked claim that the MMR vaccine leads to kids being autistic. What parents may want to keep in mind is that polio and measles themselves are disabling conditions: according to the World Health Organization, 1 in 200 polio infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Children who get measles can experience symptoms including swelling of the brain. Death is always a possibility, too.


The bill would strike language requiring that immunization records be submitted to childcare agencies, but would keep those requirements for students enrolling in kindergarten through 12th grade. As of 2022, according to the nonprofit ChildCare Aware of America, there are some 700 licensed childcare centers and homes in New Hampshire (which doesn’t require the Covid-19 vaccine for enrollment in childcare, either, despite its efficiency in reducing both death rates and acute symptoms).