Mississippi vaccine exemption bill not coming up for vote

(Craig Ford)

Mississippi lawmakers will not vote this year on creating a religious exemption to Mississippi's vaccination requirements, a committee chairman says.

Posted: Jan 29, 2018 7:27 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi lawmakers will not vote this year on creating a religious exemption to Mississippi's vaccination requirements, a committee chairman says.

House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson made the announcement about House Bill 1505 on Monday, after supporters of the exemption spent the weekend calling and leaving messages for lawmakers. Tuesday is the first major deadline of the three-month legislative session.

Gipson, a Republican from Braxton, said House Speaker Philip Gunn will appoint a study committee. Gipson said he believes the group will propose legislation that could be considered in 2019, but it is possible the Health Department could resolve critics' concerns by setting new rules about vaccination exemptions.

The delay pushes a contentious issue into a state election year, when all state House and Senate seats will be on the ballot and most current lawmakers are expected to be running again.

During a meeting last week, Judiciary B Committee members heard from parents who said Mississippi requires too many vaccinations before children can go to daycare or attend public or private school. Some said they are home schooling their children because of concerns about vaccines that were cultivated in cell lines obtained from fetuses aborted in the 1960s.

Mississippi has long had one of the highest child vaccination rates in the country. Gipson said Mississippi, California and West Virginia are the only states without a religious exemption.

"The unavailability of any religious exemption in Mississippi is troubling to many parents, myself included," Gipson said Monday.

He cited, in particular, the fact that some vaccines are cultivated in cell lines originally obtained from fetuses aborted decades ago. Many churches that oppose abortion say it's acceptable for believers to receive those vaccines anyway.

Gipson said the study committee would focus on whether there should be a religious exemption and on how Mississippi's current medical exemption works. Some opponents of the current law complain that district health officers, who decide on medical exemptions, don't act uniformly.

The state health officer, Dr. Mary Currier, told the Judiciary B Committee on Wednesday that viruses used in some vaccines are grown on tissue that originated from abortions in the 1960s.

"Nobody likes that. I don't like that," Currier said. "I sincerely hope that the companies that make these vaccines are working on that issue, to provide vaccines that are not from these tissues."

Currier opposes weakening Mississippi's vaccine law, saying, for example, that measles "is not a benign disease." In the U.S., about 1 in every 20 children who contracts measles will develop pneumonia, she said.

"We've been very lucky here in Mississippi" to not have a measles outbreak, Currier said, attributing that to the state's high vaccination rate.

During the committee meeting Wednesday, some people seeking broader exemptions in the vaccine law said their children or grandchildren developed problems after vaccinations.

Dr. Scott Guidry, who is a surgeon in Hattiesburg, and his wife, Mary Jane Guidry, who is a nurse, said their son had brain damage 24 years ago and they attribute it to vaccinations. Mary Jane Guidry said the state should not be able to control what is injected into children's bodies.

"No one should have the power to ruin your life simply because they think it's going to make someone else's better," Mary Jane Guidry said.

Life-threatening reactions to vaccines are rare, Currier said: "People who are vaccinated are not any more likely to have autism than people who are not vaccinated."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 537813

Reported Deaths: 11024
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson791691529
Mobile41177808
Madison35002507
Tuscaloosa25871454
Shelby25076249
Montgomery24549591
Baldwin21290309
Lee15946171
Calhoun14556319
Morgan14364280
Etowah13890353
Marshall12262223
Houston10602282
Elmore10115206
Limestone10031151
St. Clair9890245
Cullman9730194
Lauderdale9449243
DeKalb8853188
Talladega8325176
Walker7259277
Autauga6971108
Jackson6830112
Blount6750139
Colbert6317134
Coffee5546119
Dale4869113
Russell444338
Chilton4343113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4040152
Escambia394577
Chambers3581123
Dallas3564153
Clarke351361
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302298
Winston275673
Bibb263064
Geneva252577
Marengo249664
Pickens234862
Barbour231956
Hale223677
Butler217869
Fayette212462
Henry189644
Cherokee184345
Randolph182042
Monroe178140
Washington167639
Macon160750
Clay156957
Crenshaw153357
Cleburne149241
Lamar143035
Lowndes139653
Wilcox127430
Bullock123041
Conecuh110629
Coosa108928
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 51°
Columbus
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 50°
Oxford
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 44°
Starkville
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 45°
High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for this weekend. This will keep our area filled with plenty of sunshine. However, there will be some changes next week in our weahter forecast as low pressure brings back some chances for showers and thunderstorms.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather