Last week during committee debate on a bill that prohibits daycare centers and schools from requiring the COVID-19 vaccination for kids, Democrat Sen. Joe Bolkcom expressed concern over what he deemed “diminishing confidence” in childhood vaccines.
Bolkcom said Grinnell College seems to be the target of the bill as it is the only educational institution in the state requiring the COVID vaccine, which Bolkcom said is a “safe, effective vaccine” that nearly 1.9 million Iowans have received.
“This legislation, I think, is dangerous,” he said. “It continues to erode public confidence in safe, effective vaccinations for things like mumps, measles, rubella, polio, whopping cough, diphtheria — those vaccinations that probably everybody on this side of the table got when we were children and didn’t think twice about it.”
Bolkcom cited a poll from The Des Moines Register that he said shows public confidence is eroding in childhood vaccinations.
“Now, I know we’re talking about COVID-19 today because you all are a bit obsessed about this — we’ve turned this into a political issue, what’s been determined by science to be effective and safe,” Bolkcom said. “But here we are with this bill, mostly to make political points.”
Bolkcom expressed concern that some Iowans want to allow parents to make decisions on certain childhood vaccinations rather than state laws requiring them.
“I think that’s a dangerous place to be to see the confidence — 42 percent of Iowans are ready to chuck childhood vaccinations,” he said. “And when we do that, we make every kid, every teacher in every classroom in every child care setting more susceptible to preventable diseases.
“And I don’t know when science flew out the window here, I get we’ve got this political fight over COVID-19…so I don’t know why we’re allowing these anti-science, anti-public health zealots make everybody unsafe in Iowa. The trend is terrible.”