Vaccination Bill 'Watered Down' In Oklahoma Senate Committee

Monday, February 27th 2017, 2:33 pm

A Senate committee Tuesday passed a watered-down version of a controversial vaccination bill.  

Sen. Ervin Yen, R-District 40, authored a bill that would restrict families from opting out of vaccinations for their children.  

For the third year in a row, cardiac anesthesiologist Yen pushed the legislation.  

He explained the rate of vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella has dropped from 95 percent in Oklahoma to 90 percent.  

Tuesday, Yen removed much of the language of his bill now just requiring parents and guardians to watch a video about vaccinations before opting out.  

“What we’re doing is burdening Oklahoma parents,” said Sen. Joseph Silk, R-District 5. “If they don’t agree with vaccinations we are now putting another layer of bureaucracy for them to exercise that freedom”

"Yeah, it’s a little trouble for parents or guardians to watch a video. But you know what? It’s a little trouble to put your baby in a car seat too isn’t it?” Yen said.

Opponents recently compared Yen to Hitler and Pol Pot for pushing legislation requiring vaccinations.

“I find it disgusting that anybody would liken a member of this body to Hitler or to Pol Pot,” said Sen. Adam Pugh, R-District 41, his voice raised. “A man who killed off almost half of his population in Cambodia. That is disgusting to me”

Those in the packed hearing room say they weren’t behind the fliers and postcards, and they say they’re not happy with the watered down legislation either.

“It’s still hoops that parents need to jump through, it’s still against the God given rights for parents to make a decision,” said Liza Greve with Oklahomans for Vaccine & Health Choice PAC.

The bill now goes to the full Senate.