Oklahoma’s new governor, Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt, said he “personally did not vaccinate some of his own kids and opposed legislation that would require vaccinations for children if they wanted to attend public schools.” 1 We weren’t able to #CanPan like we wanted to but our message isn’t dead.

Earlier in the year, Stitt expressed skepticism about childhood vaccinations in a speech and aligned himself with both science and the freedom to choose:

“I believe in choice. And we’ve got six children and we don’t vaccinate, we don’t do vaccinations on all of our children. So we definitely pick and choose which ones we’re gonna do. It’s gotta be up to the parents, we can never mandate that. I think there’s legislation right now that are trying to mandate that to go to public schools, it’s absolutely wrong. My wife was homeschooled, I went to public schools, our kids go to Christian school, and that’s back to a parent’s choice.”2

These comments place Stitt within a growing number of politicians (as well as scientists and doctors) who believe the science of vaccines is not settled. His spokeswoman, Donelle Harder, said, “Kevin believes the topic of vaccinations is a serious decision that should be made by parents in consultation with their pediatricians.”3

RELATED STORY:

We totally agree. (Under current Oklahoma law, children are required to have a number of immunizations in order to attend public school but the state offers medical, religious and personal exemptions.) Harder says that Stitt isn’t interested in changing the current law but perhaps he might if pushed. “Lawmakers in the state have attempted to craft legislation that would reduce the number of parents using these exemptions: either be limiting their availability or by adding measures to encourage parents to vaccinate their kids (such as requiring them to watch videos about diseases that can result from a lack of immunization).”4 (Something my editor had to do today for her youngest child.)

RELATED STORY:

Again, our message is still out there. And we have wise and strong allies working to keep our kids safe. Congratulations, Oklahoma!

E. Elizabeth

Sources and References

  1. The Daily Beast, September 7, 2018.
  2. The Daily Beast, September 7, 2018.
  3. The Daily Beast, September 7, 2018.
  4. The Daily Beast, September 7, 2018.