EDITORIAL: School’s back and, stupidly, so are preventable diseases

In Colorado, it’s much easier to say that you don’t want to vaccinate children than to prove that you have. What’s worse is that yet another attempt to create at least marginal compliance failed earlier this year in the state legislature. Anti-vaxers balked at Senate Bill 17-250, which would have standardized “opting out” instead of allowing for what is now pretty much a note from mom on a lunch sack

Kids are back in school and so, too, is the ever-increasing risk of them catching a severe or even lethal transmissible disease because parents of their peers are irresponsible in regards to mandatory vaccinations.

We’re sick of it, and you should be, too.

With all the hysteria in Washington, concern over money for roads, standardized test scores and just being able to pay for medical treatment, vaccinations and changing laws to increase compliance falls to the wayside. This is the perfect time to make state legislators talk about it.

We’ve said this repeatedly, and we — as well as others working to overcome the state’s dangerous ignorance —  will keep repeating it until lawmakers take action. Colorado regularly ranks worst or near-worst in the nation for vaccination rates, and it’s costing lives, health and millions of dollars.

The problem stems from past legislators, succumbing to fake science and political pressure, who were either sympathetic to odd parents who didn’t want to vaccinate their children, or shortsighted in thinking that making it easy to “opt-out” of mandatory vaccines was just no big deal.

The root of most of this growing crisis comes from a regularly discredited study run by a discredited doctor to tie autism to childhood vaccinations, and the U.S. media bought the hoax, helping to legitimize it.  There is not one reputable pediatrician, pediatric organization, hospital, clinic or researcher that does not vehemently work to debunk the autism lie and beg parents to vaccinate their children.

In Colorado, it’s much easier to say that you don’t want to vaccinate children than to prove that you have. What’s worse is that yet another attempt to create at least marginal compliance failed earlier this year in the state legislature. Anti-vaxers balked at Senate Bill 17-250, which would have standardized “opting out” instead of allowing for what is now pretty much a note from mom on a lunch sack.

Many lawmakers and too much of the public erroneously believe that since the bulk of the “herd” was vaccinated against potentially lethal diseases such as measles, polio and whooping cough, we’re all protected.

They’re wrong. Dead wrong for some people. The incidence of those diseases continues to increase as vaccination rates decline. Last year reports of deaths of people with depressed immune systems sounded an alarm for all of us: Colorado, and the country, is at grave risk.

One death followed a measles outbreak at Disneyland two years ago that sickened 100 people, all because foolish, misled, selfish people have avoided childhood vaccination rules.

Real scientists and medical professionals have been unequivocal: The purported danger of childhood vaccines are lies. Dangerous lies. Colorado must join California in solving an ailing public health problem that’s easy to cure. Last year, California virtually eliminated all exemptions to that state’s childhood vaccination policy.

Colorado must join California and require every child who attends a public school or college undergo vaccination. The state cannot command these vaccinations, but lawmakers certainly can force scofflaws to stay away from public programs and venues. Schools, rec centers, colleges, day cares and employers should all demand that people comply with vaccination programs.

It’s almost unthinkable that a country like the United States would slide back decades in health care progress, risking the lives of millions of Americans potentially exposed to diseases we nearly eradicated — because of lies, laziness or ignorant fear.

If parents still won’t listen and comply, then lawmakers must act to protect the rest of the public, and even the naive or selfish from themselves. But first, we need to choose those legislators. Ask and choose wisely.