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Aug. 17, 2022
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Minutes for HB2498 - Committee on Health and Human Services

Short Title

Prohibiting the secretary of health and environment from requiring COVID-19 vaccination for children attending school.

Minutes Content for Mon, Feb 21, 2022

Sarah Irsik-Good, Board Member, Immunize Kansas Coalition (IKC), provided testimony in opposition to HB2498 (Attachment 45). IKC's purpose is to improve the health of Kansans through improved vaccination rates to protect against vaccine preventable disease. IKC is here to protect the integrity of the current process by which the immunization schedule is set for childcare and school entry in Kansas. Kansas' current process is considered the "Gold Standard" for how school entry requirements are managed. Ms. Good also stated her issue with the misinformation being presented regarding religious exemption, the safety of the vaccine and the lack of protection against injury. It was noted that KDHE has the expertise to make decisions regarding vaccines.

Kelly Sommers, State Director, Kansas State Nurses Association (KSNA), provided testimony in opposition to HB2498 (Attachment 46). It is important to support all required childhood vaccines to attend daycares and schools. These are breeding grounds for a lot of serious illnesses. 82% of Americans support required vaccines. KSNA is here to support providing the best care for children. As nurses, we understand the apprehension some parents may have towards vaccinations. Proper information is critical to protect the lives of children.

Heather Braum, Health Policy Advisor, Kansas Action for Children, provided testimony in opposition to HB2498 (Attachment 47). Ms. Braum noted that KDHE staff are subject matter experts and have applied their expertise and competence to develop vaccine requirements for decades. It must be noted that before a vaccine is added to the required list, it has been available for many years. It should be noted that KDHE has never considered adding the flu vaccine to the list. This bill is putting the cart before the horse. Or better stated, this bill is a solution looking for a problem. HB2498 could potentially put the entire required childhood vaccination list in question.

Reverend Lois Harder, Associate Pastor, Kansas Interfaith Action (KIFA), provided testimony in opposition to HB2498 (Attachment 48). KIFA has taken a supportive position on vaccines, even Covid 19. It is a matter of the imperative to save human life. The bill could be a precursor of the elimination of all childhood vaccination requirements. The vaccines have saved millions of lives and prevented countless cases of mumps, measles, rubella, polio, etc. It must be noted that KDHE has shown no intention to require the Covid 19 vaccine.

The following provide written only testimony in opposition to HB2498:

Rachelle Colombo, Executive Director, Kansas Medical Society (Attachment 49)

Dr. Jennifer Bacani McKenney, President, Kansas Academy of Family Physicians (Attachment 50)

Dr. Dena Hubbard, Legislative Coordinator, Kansas Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (Attachment 51)

David Jordan, President & CEO, United Methodist Health Ministry Fund (Attachment 52)

Lauren Tice Miller, Director of Government Relations & Elections, Kansas National Education Association (Attachment 53)

Ali Hilton, Program Director, Mid America Immunization Coalition (Attachment 54)

Dana Bacon, Regional Director, Government Affairs, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (Attachment 55)

Dennis Kriesel, Executive Director, Kansas Association of Local Health Departments (Attachment 56)

Susan Wood, Private Citizen (Attachment 57)

Andy Marso, Private Citizen (Attachment 58)

Bryan & Cynthia Thompson, Private Citizens (Attachment 59)