LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Vaccinating your kids is a decision that might soon be taken away from parents. This is a proposed bill written by Karilyn Brown, State Representative for District 41.
“I decided to do this because the mumps outbreak that started in Northwest Arkansas is now down here in Pulaski County,” Brown said.
She said this bill is needed not only to help reduce outbreaks, but because of the amount of people traveling. She wants to add five viruses to the list of vaccinations kids must have. Those five viruses are Hepatitis A and B, rotavirus, pneumococcus, and haemophilus.
Brown also wants to eliminate allowing exemptions for religious and philosophical reasons for children who attend public and private schools and day cares. She said that vaccines have come a long way.
“I know that many people think vaccines are dangerous but much of the research that's coming out states that vaccines are safe,” she said.
Dr. Nate Smith with the Arkansas Department of Health said vaccines are very effective. Smith said not only do they protect individual children, but also in protecting the community.
Smith said if kids and adults in the community would have been fully vaccinated for mumps it may have not spread as far and as fast, but it's likely we still would have had some form of outbreak. For Brown, she said she knows this proposed bill will spark debate and she welcomes it.
“I think we need to have this debate, we need to get this issue out in the open and debate it, we need to protect our children, we need to protect our elderly, and we need to deal with this with our eyes wide open,” she said.
If passed, anyone who violates this law will pay no less than $25 and no more than $100.