In a united front against vaccine misinformation, two Kansas Republican lawmakers joined forces with a Democratic colleague to emphasize the importance and safety of vaccines. Rep. Melissa Oropeza, D-Kansas City, Rep. John Eplee, R-Atchison, and Sen. Kristen O’Shea, R-Topeka, stood together with the Immunize Kansas Coalition at a Statehouse rally to address the issue.
The lawmakers gathered at a podium adorned with signs highlighting the significance of vaccines in preventing diseases such as rubella, measles, and other vaccine-preventable illnesses. Rep. John Eplee, a physician, stressed the effectiveness of the current vaccination system, stating, “Leave the status quo alone, it has worked well and it has served us well for 50 years. We just need to send a message to all our colleagues both in the House and Senate to keep their mitts of the statutes, because they’re working.”
Amid recent false claims made by the anti-vaccination movement, it remains crucial to highlight the proven safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and other immunizations. Kansas mandates vaccination requirements for children attending school, including shots for polio, hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps, and rubella, among others.
Rep. Eplee emphasized the dangers of misinformation, stating, “There are folks out there that have coalesced around anti-vax media and ideas, and they think they know more than all these leaders here at this meeting, and their narratives are going to hurt Kansans, they’re going to kill Kansans. We have to push back hard against that.”
However, on Wednesday, Sen. Mark Steffen, R-Hutchinson, introduced two anti-vaccine bills that could undermine the progress made in ensuring public health. Senate Bill 390 aims to protect individuals who refuse vaccines based on conscience, while Senate Bill 391 would limit local government authority in implementing preventive measures to combat contagious diseases.
It is essential for vaccine advocates to voice their concerns during hearings. Senator O’Shea, who serves on the same committee as Senator Steffen, highlighted the importance of engagement, stating, “We need your faces in the audience.” She firmly believed that vaccine advocacy is a commonsense, non-partisan issue that transcends political affiliations.
As a pregnant mother with a 2-year-old, Senator O’Shea expressed her desire to be a guiding voice for mothers making healthcare decisions for their children. While she disapproved of associating anti-vaccine sentiments solely with the Republican party, she emphasized the need for collective action and unity in promoting vaccination.
By uniting lawmakers from different political backgrounds, this collaborative effort aims to combat vaccine misinformation and emphasize the importance of vaccines for public health.
1. Who are the lawmakers mentioned in the article?
– Rep. Melissa Oropeza, D-Kansas City
– Rep. John Eplee, R-Atchison
– Sen. Kristen O’Shea, R-Topeka
2. What was the purpose of the Statehouse rally?
– The rally aimed to emphasize the importance and safety of vaccines and address vaccine misinformation.
3. What did Rep. John Eplee emphasize about the current vaccination system?
– Rep. John Eplee, who is a physician, highlighted the effectiveness of the current vaccination system and urged colleagues to leave it as it is.
4. What diseases are vaccines being highlighted for preventing?
– The article mentions rubella, measles, and other vaccine-preventable illnesses.
5. What vaccination requirements does Kansas have for school-going children?
– Kansas mandates vaccination requirements for children attending school, including shots for polio, hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps, and rubella, among others.
6. What dangers did Rep. Eplee highlight regarding misinformation?
– Rep. Eplee warned that misinformation about vaccines could harm and even kill people, and emphasized the need to push back against such narratives.
7. What anti-vaccine bills were introduced by Sen. Mark Steffen?
– Sen. Steffen introduced Senate Bill 390, which aims to protect individuals who refuse vaccines based on conscience, and Senate Bill 391, which would limit local government authority in implementing preventive measures for contagious diseases.
8. What did Sen. O’Shea highlight about engagement in the article?
– Sen. O’Shea emphasized the importance of vaccine advocates voicing their concerns during hearings and urged them to attend and participate, stating, “We need your faces in the audience.”
9. How did Sen. O’Shea view vaccine advocacy?
– Sen. O’Shea believed that vaccine advocacy is a commonsense, non-partisan issue that transcends political affiliations.
10. What is the goal of the collaborative effort mentioned in the article?
– The collaborative effort among lawmakers from different political backgrounds aims to combat vaccine misinformation and emphasize the importance of vaccines for public health.
– Immunize Kansas Coalition: A coalition mentioned in the article that works to promote vaccination and combat vaccine misinformation in Kansas.
– Vaccine misinformation: False or misleading information about vaccines that can misguide people and lead to vaccine hesitancy or refusal.
– Senate Bill: A proposed piece of legislation introduced in the Senate for consideration and potential enactment into law.
– Conscience: A person’s moral or ethical beliefs or principles, often used in the context of refusing vaccination based on personal beliefs.