Schlossberg joins colleagues and health experts to support bipartisan vaccine proposal at Capitol news conference
HARRISBURG, March 2 – Legislators, experts and advocates today spoke in support of legislation that would limit the types of immunization exemptions granted in Pennsylvania, during a Capitol news conference hosted by state Reps. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, and Becky Corbin, R-Chester.
At the news conference, Schlossberg explained that currently the state allows three exemptions for childhood immunization – medical, religious and philosophical. Schlossberg's and Corbin's legislation, which they intend to introduce shortly, would eliminate philosophical immunization exemptions, currently the most common type granted in the state.
"I’m the father of a 4-year old and a 2-year old. I know this is a sensitive subject because it directly affects parents and children," Schlossberg said. "But allowing Pennsylvania’s philosophical exemption to stand will lead to more outbreaks of diseases we can eliminate entirely. It will lead to public health scares and deaths, which we can prevent. More to the point, this proposal reinforces the responsibility that all Pennsylvanians have to each other."
Corbin said, “Young children in Pennsylvania are more susceptible to deadly and dangerous diseases than those in other states because our vaccination rates are too low to offer the protection necessary to stop their spread. Our legislation is one part of the solution to correct this imbalance. It takes great care not to infringe on religious liberties, while ensuring as many children as possible receive life-saving vaccines.”
Schlossberg noted that despite the boisterous opposition that has already formed against this legislation, the science behind vaccinations is not controversial and he believes most Pennsylvanians will support this proposal. Schlossberg cited a recent Reuter's poll that found most Americans believe all children should be vaccinated. In addition, he added that 30 states already have a similar prohibition on philosophical exemptions.
"I am not a doctor. But I trust doctors. When I am sick, I see a doctor – and when a doctor, nurse or any medical professional tells me to get treatment, I listen. When it comes to vaccines, the vast, overwhelming majority of medical professionals believe they are safe," Schlossberg said. "The CDC, World Health Organization, American Association of Pediatrics and countless others believe that vaccines are necessary, safe and effective at stopping the spread of deadly diseases. In a civilized society, we must listen to reason, science and trusted medical professionals."