Legislators are trying to quickly advance SB-163 during a pandemic and extreme civil unrest. Not only is the bill unnecessary, it erodes health freedom in Colorado and violates families’ civil and constitutional protections. Specifically, SB-163:
- Discriminates against residents by forcing individuals to have their sincerely held religious and personal beliefs validated by the state government or a medical provider who might not support or agree with those beliefs.
- Violates privacy by forcing all students who delay or decline any required vaccine into the state vaccine tracking system (CIIS) without informed consent and any privacy protections. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) 45 CFR 164.512(b)(1)(i) is a federal law that allows disclosure of private and protected health information without knowledge or consent for conducting public health surveillance, investigations or interventions. This includes information in state vaccine registries and tracking systems, including CIIS, that can be used to identify individuals and/or groups of people who are not vaccinated with all doses of all the federally recommended vaccines so interventions can be applied. Approved interventions include home visits. The only privacy protection currently afforded is FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), and that will be lost if SB-163 is enacted.
- Deceives legislators and the public by spinning the state’s vaccination and exemption rates to create the illusion of a crisis. Supporters of SB-163 have repeatedly stated that Colorado has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, and this misrepresentation is often cited by the media. The rates being quoted are for kindergarten students only and do not reflect all students. If officials instead used the statewide rates posted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the MMR rates cited are 94.32%, which a is much higher figure than those commonly quoted. Moreover, the state’s vaccination rates are likely even higher. Many schools are not proactively collecting missing records, so the data they have is incomplete and inaccurate.
- CDPHE and public health officials have a long history of spinning data, most recently with the way that they calculated COVID-19 deaths. It’s incumbent on the Colorado legislature to demand transparency and accurate data before they decide to enact laws and public health policies.
- Wastes taxpayer dollars on unnecessary legislation when the state is facing a severe budget shortfall. The legislature should not be passing unnecessary laws that create additional costs when cuts are needed.
- Creates additional burdens and costs not reflected in the fiscal note for schools by requiring every school to provide yearly comparative vaccination and exemption rates for MMR vaccines, with the ability to report on all vaccine rates. This information is already available on the CDPHE website and has been available since HB 14-1288 was passed.
- Requires schools to “engage” with students and families in order to achieve a stated 95% vaccination rate goal for all vaccines required for school. Schools are already bogged down with numerous administrative requirements; the state legislature should not be placing additional costly burdens on them. The current fiscal note for SB-163 does not take any costs it imposes on schools into consideration.
Tell your legislators and Governor Polis that SB-163 is harmful to Coloradans and must be stopped!
*Stand for Health Freedom would like to thank the National Vaccine Information Center for its analysis of SB-163 and the data cited in this campaign.