By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — District 34 State Senator Dr. Mark Steffen testified Monday before the Senate Public Health and Welfare committee on Senate Bill 212. The bill's intent is not to require children to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Steffen doesn't believe in that population the reward is worth the risk.
"It protects our children from a vaccine that has a morbidity and mortality profile equal to or higher than the COVID-19 virus itself, for sure in this age group of people," Steffen said.
As of the time of Steffen's testimony on Monday, none of the vaccines approved for adults in the United States have been approved for use in children.
"It's a vaccine that is experimental, a vaccine that is gene manipulative, a technique never used before," Steffen said. "It's long term dangers won't be known for decades."
Steffen wants to be sure that recommendations are policy, rather than mandates as much as possible.
"Don't get me wrong," Steffen said. "Used appropriately, vaccines are a great, great thing. As a physician, I've recommended them to many an individual. Recommend is the key. As a physician myself, I've never once mandated a treatment, nor has any of the other doctors who will show up later, like Dr. Eplee. He's never mandated a treatment plan. The CDC, FDA, NIH and World Health Organization recommend vaccinations for society. Why in the world would we allow Lee Norman to mandate anything?"
Secretary Norman spoke in opposition to the bill, mainly wanting to keep the regulation open-ended so they can adjust as more is learned about vaccines generally.
"I think it's important and we think it's important that vaccines remain in regulation in KAR 28-1-20, rather than listed in statutes, in order to support timely response to changes in ACIP recommendations," Norman said. "A new vaccine may be recommended by the ACIP, or it may be one, because of new findings, where it may be recommended to be removed. In either case, we want to act quickly."
ACIP is the CDCs Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Any time a new vaccine is to be added to the mandatory list, it needs to be on the list by February to be able to be in arms by August to start school.