New bill aims to raise school vaccination numbers

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Lawmakers in Colorado have introduced a bill to help raise the state's immunization rates.

It aims to get more kids vaccinated in schools, and creates a more complex exemption process for parents who don't get kids their shots.

The way it works now, for a medical vaccine exemption, all you do is submit a form to District 51 and get it signed by a medical professional.

For a non-medical exemption, such as religious reasons or personal preference, parents submit a form to the school, and then it gets sent to the state for approval.

House Bill 19-1312 would change that process, by creating a standardized exemption form, and then all exemption requests would be sent to the state health department or a local public health agency for approval.

One parent says he doesn't want to take any chances.

"We felt like it would be a much safer choice for our kids to make sure that they were vaccinated against all the diseases that come up. And there's a lot that you can't control in life but we don't want our kids to get Polio, so we chose to vaccinate them," said District 51 parent, Rand Porter.

If passed, the bill would also require the Department of Public Health and Environment to develop educational materials about immunizations, to distribute to health care providers and facilities.