Because the health and well-being of Texas's foster children isn't terrible enough, a state representative this week helped derail a bill calling for new foster kids to be vaccinated.
In what should've been a no-brainer, Representative Gene Wu of Houston authored a bill requiring the Department of Family and Protective Services to perform medical exams on children who have been in the custody of Children's Protective Services for more than three days. That's when, according to the Texas Tribune, Rep. Bill Zedler of Arlington demonstrated a true no-brainer: He called for an amendment that specifically prohibits vaccinating the kids.
“Immunizations do not qualify as emergency care. No vaccine cures a disease,” Zedler's quoted as saying.
Zedler told the Tribune that he proposed the amendment for a group called Texans for Vaccine Choice, which we think was originally called "Texans for Tuberculosis."
Wu was at least successful in carving out an exception for tetanus, but a push to include vaccines for cancer by Representative Sarah Davis of West University Place was tabled.
She was quoted as saying, “I know that in 2014, 429 deaths from cervical cancer occurred in Texas and that accounts for nearly 10 percent of the 4,200 deaths from cervical cancer nationally,” Davis said. “As I have said many times today, the HPV vaccine will eliminate cervical cancer.”
But Zedler told the Tribune that mandated vaccinations were just "cookie cutter medicine," which makes us wonder where Zedler stands on the concept of all doctors scrubbing their hands before surgery. But we digress.
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The story also noted that some of Zedler's fellow members of the "Freedom Caucus" said that "sometimes children are wrongfully removed from their homes and if subjected to being vaccinated, the shot would be irreversible."
Sadly, it wasn't a surprise that Wu's no-nonsense bill came up against resistance. Texas is a petri dish of anti-vaccination conspiracy theories, including from Houston's own City Councilman Jack Christie, a chiropractor who has warned the public about the "medical-industrial complex pushing a new vaccine." (Christie's even popular among some folks who prefer alternative solutions to treating and preventing disease, like drinking bleach.)
Austin is home to the anti-vaxxers' godfather, disgraced physician Andrew Wakefield, who infamously posited a link between vaccines and autism. Although Wakefield lost his medical license in his native England, he has quite a following in the Lone Star State. Wakefield appears to have so much support that Peter Hotez, an infectious diseases researcher at Baylor College of Medicine, has called Texas "the center of the anti-vaxxer movement." (Hotez has also warned of a potential measles outbreak, so that's something to look forward to.)
If only there were a vaccine for stupid. But then again, the right people wouldn't get it.