WV Senate bill could allow more exemptions to vaccines

Source: MGN Online
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Linda Dippel has seen the damage that diseases can do without the power of vaccinations.

"People died from polio,” she said.

Her uncle had polio and survived, but she made sure her children and now her grandchildren were immunized.

"We’ve eliminated polio, and now there's a measles problem because people are not vaccinating,” Dippel said.

That’s why she says she would be against Senate Bill 454 that would allow parents to exempt their child from receiving vaccinations because of medical, religious or personal objections.

"It should be a parent's choice to decide,” said Sen. Mark Maynard.

Maynard is the lead sponsor of the bill.

As the law stands now, children in West Virginia are required to receive vaccinations from chickenpox, hepatitis B, measles, meningitis, mumps, diphtheria, polio, rubella, tetanus, and whooping cough before going to a public school or state child care center.

There are medical exemptions for certain cases, but Maynard says vaccinations go against his family's religious beliefs.

"Abortion embryos being used in the vaccinations is also a concern,” he said.

He understands that not everyone agrees, but feels they should have a right to choose.

"It’s not a full exemption to where no kids would have to be vaccinated,” Maynard said.

Sen. Ron Stollings, who is also a medical doctor, says he is against the bill and worries that it could cause outbreaks like the measles outbreak that is happening in Washington and New York.

"We know that if we don't have a strong mandate that people will not get vaccinated,” Stollings said.

Members of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee are looking over the bill.