To whom it should concern,
I am strongly opposed to HB 2009, but perhaps not for the reason you think. I believe HB 2009 will drive people away from vaccines.
HB 2009 would maintain the freedom to refuse all vaccines. It would take away the freedom to accept some vaccines. This is bad for public health.
Right now, the state of Washington has three exemptions: medical, religious, and philosophical/personal.
The medical exemption is hard to access. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on doctors not to offer medical exemptions. This leaves parents with medical concerns in a dilemma. They must try to locate one of the few doctors who offers custom vaccine schedules ... or they can easily find a genuinely anti-vaccine doctor.
The religious exemption is easy to access. You just have to join the religion that forbids all vaccinations. If you want some vaccinations, though, you're out of luck. To the best of my knowledge, there is no religion that has an individualized vaccine schedule as part of the creed.
The Philosophical/Personal exemption is the only exemption that truly protects freedom of choice. It gives the parents the right to say no. It also gives the parents the right to say yes. It also gives the parents the right to say maybe. It protects informed consent and protects the rights of parents to change their minds.
My children are vaccinated against measles because of the Philosophical/Personal Exemption. If we had not had access to the Philosophical/Personal Exemption, my children would probably not be vaccinated against measles. Freedom of choice allowed us to choose the MMR despite concerns about some of the other vaccines.
For the sake of public health, we need an option that allows parents to selectively vaccinate.
Don't push parents away from vaccines. Vote NO on HB 2009.