Battle brews over Florida bill that would require vaccine reporting

Opponents of a Florida bill requiring healthcare professionals to report immunizations to a state registry will rally in the state capital April 23, according to a Sun-Sentinel report.

The bill, which is winding its way through the state legislature, aims to expand the state's current vaccination tracking system. It also would require tracking vaccinations until children reach 23 years and keeping a record of who opts out of vaccinations or choose to not have their vaccine record tracked.

Opponents of the bill argue that the information in vaccine registries could be used by schools or insurance companies to deny services to people. Other concerns include the government using information about those who opt out of vaccinations as a basis for mandating immunizations down the road.

Opponents also want the government to be more transparent about how it will track and use the information collected as well as the parental ability to opt out of the tracking. Andrea DeMichael, an lawyer and founder of Florida Freedom Alliance, which is sponsoring the rally, said that parents should have the option of taking their children's names off the registry.

"Our government is tracking us, and we should have a choice if we want to be tracked," Ms. DeMichael told the Sun-Sentinel.

The bill is being debated as the country nears a record total of measles cases. The CDC reported 71 new cases in the last week, bringing the 2019 total to 626 infections. The total is expected to soon pass the 667 cases reported in 2014, which held the record for the worst year for measles in the United States since 2000, when the agency declared measles eradicated.

Florida has only reported one case of the measles A new health department report shows the vaccination rate for kindergartners in the current school year is about 94 percent. Several states facing measles outbreaks are working to stem the rise in cases. New York City declared a public health emergency April 9 and made it mandatory for residents in certain ZIP codes to get measles vaccinations. A New York City judge recently ruled that the city's health department had the power to issue the mandate.

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