December 5, 2019
RE: Proposed legislation mandating Gardasil and Flu Vaccinations
I’ve heard from a lot of concerned parents and members of the community who are asking me about proposed legislation that would mandate school children to receive certain vaccines.
While there are many valid concerns being raised by people with the best of intentions, there is unfortunately a lot of misinformation being spread around about the issue and my positions, causing undue fear and anxiety in our community.
As your representative, I always want to make sure you know where I stand on the issues, and I want to make sure you know the facts about the work I do on your behalf in the Senate.
BACKGROUND ON 2019 MEASLES OUTBREAK AND LEGISLATIVE ACTION
Like so many New Yorkers, I was stunned by the news earlier this year that our state had become the center of a dangerous outbreak of the measles; a fatal disease that was considered to be eradicated in modern times thank to life-saving vaccines and modern medicine.
This unprecedented public health crisis demanded urgent action to stop this deadly outbreak in its path, and to protect the most vulnerable in our communities, particularly children and those battling cancer.
After significant consultation with medical professionals, I supported legislation to ensure the safety of our kids and the entire public, requiring all children who attend school to be vaccinated against the measles. This was a difficult decision, but it was necessary to protect the public from a dangerous outbreak of a deadly illness.
PROPOSED LEGISLATION ON FLU VACCINE AND GARDASIL VACCINE MANDATES
Separate and apart from the legislation we passed to stop the measles outbreak, other bills exist that would mandate other vaccines in order to attend school or daycare, including the flu vaccine, and the Gardasil vaccine, which protects people from developing HPV and certain cancers.
For context, there are thousands of bills that are introduced in Albany each year, the majority of which never make it out of committee, and never have a chance of reaching the floor of the Senate or the Assembly for a vote. Most of the time, these bills will “die” at the end of the legislative session, and the sponsor will re-introduce them the following year, where they may face the same fate in perpetuity.
If a bill is going to move beyond the introduction phase and become a viable piece of legislation, it requires a successful vote out of at least one committee, it needs significant support by a majority of legislators, and it needs to be made a priority by the leader of the chamber, who ultimately will decide whether or not a vote will be cast on the matter.
The Gardasil and Flu Vaccine Mandate bills have existed in the legislature for many years, they do not have broad support, and they have never been brought up in their respective committees as priority issues. Plainly, there has been absolutely no movement on these bills, and there is no indication that there will be any time soon. Additionally, I do not support these bills (S.298a, S.2276, S.3899a) and have been consistent and up-front about my lack of support for these bills.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
We are living through divisive times, and unfortunately, there are people who will take advantage of honest, caring people in order to advance their own agenda.
Anti-vaccine propaganda based on discredited theories continues to spread online and in our community to unsuspecting people who otherwise are just looking out for the best interest of their families.
Individuals who are against all vaccines have been deliberately creating false narratives about an urgent situation that simply doesn’t exist, and they have repeatedly spread lies that I support these bills, which I have never supported.
While many of them are tragically misinformed, others are pursuing this agenda for personal enrichment, and in order to drive their personal fundraising, they have created a fake controversy, and instilled fear in good people.
My goal is to always ensure that you know where I stand, and that you have the facts at your disposal, so if you ever find yourself with questions or concerns about matters being discussed in the community, I want you to know that I am always here for you. You can always call me, email me, or set up a meeting to speak with me face to face about anything you’re dealing with. That’s why I’m here—to help you and your family.
Anna M. Kaplan
New York State Senator
7th Senate District