Choosing A Candidate For HD-33
May 6, 2020
As I see the political signs going up around the community, I was reminded to write this letter to you.
During the 2019 Montana legislative session, there were three bills that were put forth to the House regarding vaccinations. House Bill 575 would have eliminated almost every immunization requirement in day care centers, House Bill 574 would have allowed foster families to take in children even if one of their own children was not vaccinated, and House Bill 564 would have forbidden health departments from helping schools that seek assistance in reviewing the validity of claims for vaccination exemptions.
All three of these were thankfully voted no by the Montana house majority, but our representative, Mr. Casey Knudson, voted yes for all of them. Mr. Knudson said he spoke to district members before making this decision. Statistics from the Montana DPHHS contradict that statement, showing higher rates of vaccination in his district than the state of Montana. This was before our current COVID-19 pandemic, but did occur while there were several cases of mumps in Bozeman and measles outbreaks cropping up around the country-both vaccine-preventable diseases.
I know there are people in our district who remember the summers of staying home and no swimming before the Salk vaccine for polio became available in 1955. The CDC says that immunizations are one of the 10 wonders of the 20th century. Young children, the immunocompromised by cancer or immune illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, and others who cannot take vaccinations, makes it crucial that all possible members of our society be vaccinated to provide the herd immunity needed to protect these vulnerable members of society. The reason these vaccines exist is because the diseases they are for were so harmful to society that the society members clamored for them and celebrated the vaccines arrival.
As we continue hoping for a vaccine for COVID-19 so we can return to our normal lives, I wanted to remind the voters of HD-33 that they should choose a candidate who represents their views when choosing between the two candidates running in our district.
Anne M. Millard, MD
Valley County Health Officer