DENVER — The Colorado House Health and Insurance Committee voted in favor early Tuesday morning on a bill that aims at increasing vaccination rates in Colorado.
The 7-4 vote happened after 14 hours of testimony at the Colorado State Capitol.
HB19-1312 would create a standardized exemption form and require parents to make an in-person visit to their local health department to get a signature on a waiver form.
Supporters hope to make it easier to get a vaccine than to get an exemption.
“This is about keeping Colorado’s kids safe. We need to be proactive, not reactive. We are in the midst of public health crisis and we can’t wait for a tragedy to occur,” said Rep. Kyle Mullica, D-Northglenn. “Experts believe this option will help improve Colorado’s dismal and dangerous immunization rates. I thank everyone who came to the state capitol today to make their voices heard.”
People against it say the bill is too vague and takes away a parent’s right to decide what is best for their kids.
“What this bill does is it is trying to make the decision making process out of the hands or parents and doctors and into the hands of the state,” said Phil Silberman, the president of the Colorado Health Choice Alliance Board. “I find that really problematic.”
Currently, Colorado has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
According to the CDC, less than 89 percent of kindergarten-aged children in Colorado have received vaccines for diseases like measles, mumps and rubella. Colorado ranks last in country in this category.
The bill now heads to the House floor for a vote.