Now is No Time for Vaccine Denialism in Louisiana

Dear Friend of CFI in Louisiana,

I’m writing to urge you to tell your state representatives to oppose an unnecessary and dangerous piece of legislation that undermines Louisiana’s effort to save lives from the COVID-19 pandemic.

HB 706 encourages parents to risk the health of their children, as well as the health of the general public, by requesting medically unnecessary exemptions from immunizations that are recommended by the Louisiana Office of Public Health as well as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This legislation is nothing less than an attack on the trust of your state’s medical institutions, industry, and professionals who work every day to protect our health. Please help us stop it in its tracks.

This legislation would be dangerous even if we were not fighting a global pandemic. Vaccines are among the safest and most effective medical interventions in human history. They have saved untold millions of lives. What’s more, high rates of vaccination are crucial to “herd immunity,” which helps prevent vaccine-preventable diseases from spreading to high-risk populations, including immunocompromised children, cancer patients, and people with rare life-threatening allergic reactions to vaccines. But according to the Office of Public Health, in the 2019–2020 school year, immunization rates for public school children reached their lowest level in six years. In regions where immunization rates have fallen below the threshold for herd immunity, preventable diseases such as the measles have made a frightening resurgence that has resulted in many children being hospitalized or worse.

Now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this legislation is more ill-advised than ever. As of May 6, there were 29,996 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisiana. Tragically, there have been 2,042 deaths. For the sake of our children, families, and neighbors, we must do everything in our power to reverse this tide. This means, among other things, that we must show leadership in supporting the use of a vaccine if one is developed and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for prevention or treatment of COVID-19. (For that matter, Louisiana should join states such as West Virginia and Mississippi in eliminating all nonmedical vaccine exemptions.)

I urge you to tell your representatives today to strongly oppose HB 706 and the attack on public health and science that it represents. Let’s stand up together for medical science and the benefits that it brings to the people we care about.


Jason Lemieux

Director of Government Affairs

Center for Inquiry

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