For a change today, we bring you a vaccine story that’s not about the coronavirus vaccines. A Republican-sponsored bill in the Pennsylvania legislature would undermine the Centers for Disease Control’s recommended schedules for childhood immunizations, and the state’s pediatricians are up in arms over it — little kids’ skinny, measles-covered arms, if that helps you visualize the threat. Harrisburg public radio station WITF explains:
In part, the bill seeks to bar pediatricians from denying care to a child whose parent doesn’t want to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention immunization schedule.
Zimmerman claims his bill is “the first step in allowing the families and the physicians to work together” — if by “work together” you mean giving parents misled by online anti-vaxxer lies the option to ignore sound medical advice. Oddly, it turns out that pediatricians have this crazy idea that working together with parents shouldn’t mean throwing out medical best practices or their professional ethics.
The bill is opposed by the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Academy for Pediatrics; WITF notes that the doctors interviewed for the story “say almost every sentence in the bill is based on misinformation.” Even if the bill goes nowhere, they’re worried about the precedent the bill sets, since it places online misinformation on the same level as medical knowledge. Dr. Gabriel Cisneros, a Pittsburgh pediatrician who co-chairs the nonprofit’s advocacy committee, says that for parents who are “ambivalent or concerned, this bill gives credence to that false notion that it’s okay to delay vaccines for their children.”