Letter to the Editor

Reader has question for Rep. Blanksma

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Dear Editor,

I appreciate that while the House is in session, Representative Megan Blanksma provides a ‘legislation update’ in the paper weekly.

However, I find it ironic that you printed an article on the Pertussis (Whooping Cough) outbreak in the Treasure Valley March 7th and then you turn the page to find Rep. Blanksma providing us an update on HB 494.

HB 494 can only be described as anti-immunization legislation. In fact, I have written Rep. Blanksma twice regarding the problems I perceived with HB 494. When I wrote her the first time I was unaware she was the sponsor of HB 494. She never responded to my concerns, but luckily I found a compassionate ear in the Senate; not even in our district.

Common sense prevailed in the Senate and HB 494 died, but I am writing in hopes that HB 494 is not re-introduced. So what is wrong with HB 494? First and foremost, it is literally anti-vaccine. Second, it places an unfair additional burden on the medical staff; it is duplication and requires significant resources.

Idaho ranks near the bottom nationwide regarding immunization rates and legislation such as HB 494 will keep us there. Immunizations have proven to be one of the most important advances of the 20th Century. After I became aware that Rep. Blanksma wrote HB 494 I asked her in my second email what I felt was an important question: "did you initiate this on your own or did someone like myself send you a convincing letter that this bill was needed?"

The reason I asked this question is because HB 494 seemed like a personal crusade. It also seemed anti-IRIS. IRIS is the acronym for Idaho’s ‘Immunization Reminder Information System’. IRIS is a very important tool in Idaho’s immunization program. It not only helps to track immunizations to help insure children are up-to-date; it can prevent unnecessary immunization in an emergency room setting. In the event of an injury, the ER can look up the record of a child to insure tetanus is current.

Andrew Wakefield is a discredited former British doctor and is considered to be the father of the anti-immunization movement. He rose to fame by asserting that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine caused autism, but failed to admit he was working for a group of attorneys that were attempting to sue the vaccine makers.

Please Rep. Blanksma, do not help this unethical man succeed in decreasing immunization rates. If you feel that HB 494 is truly needed then please respond to the readers of this paper why you feel this way; I for one would be interested.


Delmar Smith

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