Mandatory vaccine refused hearing

Sen. Rob Standridge

Sen. Rob Standridge

Sen. Rob Standridge (R-Norman) announced today he will not allow a bill requiring vaccines for school kids to be heard. Standridge is the Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services committee, he declined to hear the same bill last session, and has no new information causing him to reconsider.

“Although I have had my children vaccinated, and believe some vaccinations are true life-savers, I believe vaccinations work best when parents and communities are educated by health professionals, not the government,” says Standridge. “As a health professional, I encourage parents to vaccinate their children, but I stop short as a legislator in mandating them to do so.”

vaccination3Standridge is a licensed pharmacist and owner of a medical equipment company.

The proposed bill (SB-830) to require vaccinations for school kids provides no exemptions for religious or medical objections. And, although the legislative session is five months away, Standridge wants to make his stance clear before an upcoming interim study.

“Because of my unwavering support of parental rights, and my deep respect for the many fellow citizens who feel the same as I do, I am issuing this statement several months before I would typically reveal my decision,” Standridge says.

RobStandridge1To provide more detail, Standridge released an open letter on the topic:

Dear Concerned Citizens of Oklahoma,

After much thought and prayer, I would like to address the ongoing conversation about government-mandated vaccinations. Although I have had my children vaccinated, and believe some vaccinations are true life-savers, I believe vaccinations work best when parents and communities are educated by health professionals, not the government. This is, in part, how the global eradication of smallpox, a horrific and sometimes fatal disease, was achieved.

vaccination1Although mass vaccinations against smallpox initially were not successful, parents and communities around the world worked together with health professionals and organizations to develop containment, vaccination and treatment strategies. This cooperation eventually would make smallpox the first ever globally eradicated disease and a nightmare of the past.

I do not now nor have I ever believed there is an overwhelming reason for government to mandate childhood vaccinations. Because of my unwavering support of parental rights, and my deep respect for the many fellow citizens who feel the same as I do, I am issuing this statement several months before I would typically reveal my decision. As chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, I refused to hear legislation last session mandating childhood vaccinations, and nothing has happened to cause me to reconsider.

Events around the country have caused an increased awareness of vaccinations and the valuable role they play in protecting children from life-changing, or even life-ending, diseases. As a health professional, I encourage parents to vaccinate their children, but I stop short as a legislator in mandating them to do so. At a time in this nation when the access and affordability of health care is a major point of debate, it is probably not the best time to put more pressure on the doctor-patient relationship, built on openness, trust and choice.

vaccination2I am deeply honored to serve in the Oklahoma Senate and am extremely blessed that the fine citizens of Cleveland and Oklahoma counties have entrusted me to represent them at the Capitol in the greatest state in the nation.

I remain your humble servant,

Sincerely,

Rob Standridge, Senate District 15.