This story originally appeared on WITF.
Paediatricians in Pennsylvania say a bill in the state general assembly would disrupt their work to immunize children if passed into law, and put newborns and sick children at risk from contracting potentially fatal infections.
The Immunization Freedom Act sponsored by Republican State Rep. Lancaster’s David Zimmerman passed the House Health Committee last week with a party line vote.
In part, the bill aims to prevent pediatricians from refusing care to a child whose parent does not want to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention immunization schedule.
Zimmerman says the legislation is “the first step in getting the families and doctors together” to create individualized schedules. But doctors say this is already happening within the confines of medical best practices – and anything beyond that that would violate their professional standards.
The Pennsylvania division of the American Academy for Pediatrics and doctors interviewed for this story say nearly every sentence in the bill is based on misinformation. And regardless of how likely the measure is to become law, they are concerned that lawmakers are giving voice to anti-science ideas influencing what happens in their exam rooms.
“So for the people who are ambivalent or concerned, this bill gives credence to that false idea that it’s okay to delay vaccines for their children,” said Dr. Gabriel Cisneros, a Pittsburgh pediatrician who serves as Pa co-chair. . Advocacy Committee of the American Academy for Pediatrics.