A recent Danish medical study has again debunked the myth tying vaccines to autism after observing 600,000 kids from birth to age 10. It concluded that the commonly-given MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine does not cause autism. It is 2019, but unfortunately we have politicians like Senator Mark Johnson who say that parental choice must trump the public health benefit of vaccines, sending modern medicine back to the Dark Ages.

    Don’t we all want to live in communities where we, our children, and the elderly are protected from catching and spreading preventable, deadly infections? Senator Johnson said in a recent video, editorial, and press release that families deserve a choice about whether vaccinations are right for them. Does he believe that “choice” trumps conscience and vaccinating his own children should be optional?  What about his family’s and everyone else’s right to not be exposed to getting and spreading horrible diseases?

    The very small percentage of the population who are medically allergic to some vaccines should heed their physician’s advice on vaccinations. Tragically, those individuals are also now at greater risk of catching awful and costly infectious diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, and polio.  Everyone who can get vaccinated should do so to protect themselves and others.

    By calling into question the need for vaccinations, Senator Johnson’s choice in this matter shows disregard for the safety of the public and those people most vulnerable. It is especially concerning since he serves on the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Policy and Finance Committee.

    By throwing away the evidence and siding with conspiracy theorists, Senator Johnson has doubled down on the lie that vaccines are dangerous, putting our families and communities at risk of infection from preventable diseases. As a gift of answered prayers and advancements in medical science, vaccines have almost completely eliminated many deadly diseases from daily life.

    However, it is that absence of disease due to vaccinations that wrongfully allows us to think we don’t need them any more. Ask the older generation if they want to return to the days of the iron lung. Those infections can come home to roost if we continue to elect people who take dangerous, extremist positions like Senator Mark Johnson.