Oklahoma medical professionals urge opposition to vaccine exemption change

Published: Jan. 7, 2021 at 6:15 PM CST
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - The Oklahoma State Department of Health is proposing a change to an existing rule that requires education for parents who want to refuse vaccines for their children. A group of medical professionals are urging Oklahomans oppose this change as it could put kids at risk.

“Informed choice is the best choice. Our kids have to come first,” said Dr. Steven Crawford, chairman of the Oklahoma Alliance for Healthy Families, and member of the Immunization Advisory Committee at Oklahoma State Department of Health.

An initiative from the Oklahoma State Health Department has some medical professionals concerned.

“In recent years I’ve experienced a growing number of new parents who are worried about vaccinating their children. Their fear is almost always driven by myths they have encountered on social media,” said Dr. Don Wilbur, Oklahoma pediatrician.

An education requirement for vaccine exemption put in place last year is proposed to be removed by the department. Thursday, a group of doctors discussed why they believe that could put Oklahoma children at risk.

“I believe children are best served when healthcare decisions impacting them are made by their parents in consultation with medical professionals,” said Wilbur.

They say the department is open for public comment on their website until January 14th, and they’re encouraging all Oklahomans to leave an opposing comment to prevent future outbreaks aside from the ongoing pandemic.

“The specific action we would like the public to take is to go on to the Oklahoma State Department of Health website and provide a comment that they do not support the rule change,” said Crawford.

“There is a real concern that while we’re trying to recover from this pandemic we may have outbreaks of vaccine of preventable illnesses in our near future. And so this is a really important topic,” said Dr. George Monks, President of Oklahoma State Medical Association.

You can leave a comment for the Oklahoma State Department of Health by clicking this link.

“We’re not restricting anybody’s decisions. We’re asking people to take time for their children to make a good decision,” said Wilbur.

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