Opinion: If COVID-19 immunizations cannot be required then why not eliminate requirements for vaccinations to prevent polio, measles, chickenpox and more?
When it comes to school children being immunized, Gov. Doug Ducey is all of a sudden in favor of choice.
I say “all of a sudden” because, for as long as I can remember, Arizona has required proof of all kinds of vaccines for school kids.
This new idea about “choice,” however, is only for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Why is that?
Not long ago, Ducey issued an executive order saying students can’t be required to take the COVID-19 vaccine for admission to public school. Or be required to submit proof of vaccination. Or be tested. Or even be required to wear masks.
In a released statement about this action Ducey said, “The vaccine works, and we encourage Arizonans to take it. But it is a choice and we need to keep it that way …”
The governor even says that schools cannot quarantine unvaccinated students who are exposed to COVID-19.
What about polio? Chickenpox?
OK, if a vaccine “is a choice and we need to keep it that way,” then why does the Arizona Department of Health Services have a whole list of ailments and afflictions for which a child’s parents must provide proof of immunization in order to attend school?
Measles, mumps and rubella.
It goes on.
There were rumbling of such bills at the State Capitol and Ducey told reporters, “Traditionally, I don’t comment on bills that are moving through the Legislature. But because this involves public health, I think it’s important for people to know that we are pro-vaccination in the state of Arizona. Vaccinations are good for our kids and helpful for public health.”
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Of course, we all know why that is. We require immunizations in order to prevent outbreaks of dangerous and potentially deadly illnesses, not just for the state’s otherwise healthy children, but for the adults around them and for those children and adults who may have immune deficiencies.
There are exemptions, of course, as there should be, but the vast majority must prove they’ve received the vaccinations.
But not for COVID-19 because, the governor says, vaccines must be a choice.
‘Choice’ is another word for …
Or does “choice,” in this instance, mean politics?
Is “choice” simply Ducey’s way of appeasing the radical wing of the Republican Party, whose support he will need if he wants to run for another elected office?
Is this Ducey’s way of saying his future means more to him than the health of our kids?
Ducey was elected in November, 2014. He was then reelected in 2018. He cannot run again when his current term expires on Jan. 1, 2023, which puts Ducey, politically, in the year of our Lord two-thousand-and-twenty-and-I-don’t-give-a-damn.
At least it seems so.
Ducey’s present over children’s future
He and the Legislature gutted voter-approved Prop. 208, which was meant to restore the funding robbed from education over the years. He orchestrated a whopping tax cut for his wealthy pals. He seems nonplused by the otherwise devastating series of articles by The Republic’s Craig Harris about the personal good-old-boy network Ducey has used to help wealthy pals and associates.
And now Ducey appears to have lost all concern for Arizona’s children, their teachers and everyone else who works in our schools.
So, why stop at COVID-19 vaccination? Why not go all out? Eliminate requirements for any vaccines.
Or is “choice,” in this instance, just another word for politics?
Reach Montini at email@example.com.
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