March 25, 2021
KDP CALLS ON REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP TO CONDEMN AND REJECT ANTI-VACCINATION LEGISLATION
Topeka, KS — The Kansas Democratic Party is calling on Republican Leadership in the Kansas Legislature to condemn the anti-vaccination bill promoted by Senator Mark Steffen – who has previously claimed face masks are “propaganda,” essential oils can protect against COVID-19, and that the common cold is causing false COVID positives. In response to SB212, KDP Chairwoman Vicki Hiatt released the following statement:
“Enough is enough. Republican leadership has already spent months undermining Governor Kelly’s ability to respond to COVID-19. Now, after getting their own vaccines, they’re actively discouraging Kansans from doing the same. If Republicans continue to push this legislation, they risk our health and jeopardize our return to normal life. SB212 proves that Kansans can’t trust Republicans on anything when it comes to COVID-19.”
Read more about Kansas GOP’s push for anti-vaccination legislation:
While it is unclear when kids in schools across Kansas might join the thousands of adults who have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, legislators are already aiming to shape what that process might look like.
A Kansas Senate committee considered legislation Monday that would limit what future requirements schools could impose in an effort to mandate vaccines, most notably immunization against COVID-19.
The move comes despite the fact that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Education have yet to indicate when guidelines for the vaccination of youths might be released.
Nationally, White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said high school students could start getting the shots ahead of the 2021-22 school year. The Los Angeles Unified School District announced last week that pupils age 16 and older could get the shots starting May 1.
Part of the reason there has not been more of a push to vaccinate students isn’t because of a lack of interest — officials agree generally on the importance of returning to in-person classes.
Whether the shots will eventually be mandated for all students is another question.
Currently, there is a laundry list of vaccine requirements for schools and day cares in Kansas and the secretary of KDHE can add new immunizations as they deem necessary.
But under legislation proposed by Sen. Mark Steffen, R-Hutchinson, those powers would be removed. The current list of vaccine requirements for diseases like Hepatitis A would remain but the ability to mandate shots in the future, including the COVID-19 vaccine, would be transferred to the legislature.
Kansas has an exemption allowing parents to opt-out of vaccines on religious grounds or if a physician certifies that the shots would potentially endanger a child’s life, both of which would remain under the bill.
Despite a bounty of evidence underscoring the safety of the COVID-19 immunizations, Steffen said “long term dangers won’t be known for decades” of the shots, which he termed to be “experimental” due to the fact that the vaccines were being distributed under an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. But the purpose of the bill, he said, was to take back powers for the legislature in a bid to give parents more freedom.
“Why in the world would we allow (KDHE Secretary) Lee Norman to mandate anything?” Steffen said.
Paid for by the Kansas Democratic Party, Yolanda Taylor, Treasurer
Kansas Democratic Party
501 SE Jefferson St
Topeka, KS 66607