EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSRALLY AGAINST VACCINES
from Eyewitness News Online
Parents Rally Lawmakers To End Forced Student Vaccinations
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Troy Morgan, Leslie Rubin
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Feb. 22, 2012 10:24 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 23, 2012 5:27 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Hundreds gather at the state capitol to demand an end to mandatory vaccinations.
Some parents say it comes down to one thing, a choice. While health officials say mandatory vaccines set the state above others.
Bridget Nelson, of Vienna, is rallying alongside hundreds of parents, telling lawmakers they shouldn't be forced to vaccinate their children.
"We just want the choice. It's our children, it's our choice," says Nelson.
Nelson says her 2-year-old son was diagnosed with autism shortly after his 15 month shots. Now, she home-schools are daughter to keep her from having to undergo mandatory vaccinations for public school.
"We didn't have a choice. You know our back was against the wall. We did not want to vaccinate our daughter for the sake of her health. Our son had already had a reaction," she explains.
Rallying for change, that health officials say could be deadly.
"More and more parents are refusing vaccinations for their children and you're seeing more outbreaks for vaccine preventable diseases in those states," explains Jeff Necuzzi, Director of Immunizations for the Bureau of Public Health.
West Virginia is one of only two states that mandates vaccines for public and private school children. It's a law that was passed in 1931 when there were only three vaccines in use. To date, there are 14 vaccinations required for school entry.
It's a law the parents at the rally say is out of date. Proposed Senate Bill 50 would allow non-medical immunization exemptions.
"It's really odd that the government is trying to force shots on people that don't want them, it's unconstitutional," says keynote speaker, Patricia Finn.
Others argue that vaccines are safer than ever and the state's current law puts it above the 48 other states when it comes to health.
"Why would we want to undue all the success we've had in nearly eliminating these diseases from the United States?" asks Necuzzi.
Supporters of Senate Bill 50 say it will die if the Senate Education Chair, Senator Richard Plymale, refuses to put the bill on the committee's agenda.
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