LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
NEWSCAST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Kansas Requires Students to Get Vaccines, Yet 15% of Kindergartners are Missing Shots

Kansas wants students to get vaccines against measles, polio and more, but many remain under-vaccinated.  (Photo by Chris Neal for the Kansas News Service)

Measles is making a comeback, at least in the news. There are almost daily headlines about the preventable illness cropping up somewhere in the U.S. And it's not just measles. Plenty of Kansans don’t get vaccinated for other menacing illnesses, too. Experts say the reason isn't really because so many parents are opposed to vaccines. Celia Llopis-Jepsen, of the Kansas News Service, reports.


Read more about this story

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of reporters and editors -- dedicated to covering the health and well-being of Kansans, their communities and civic life. Discover more stories at ksnewsservice.org.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen is a reporter for the Kansas News Service. Follow her on Twitter

____________________________________

(related article) 

Vaccine Foes Contest Kansas Plan to Require New School Shots

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Vaccination opponents in Kansas have mobilized against a plan from the state health department to require more immunizations children in school and day care. The Wichita Eagle reports that dozens of them packed a public hearing on a regulation drafted by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The new rule would require children in school and day care to be vaccinated against meningitis and hepatitis A. The state already requires immunizations against polio, diphtheria, measles, German measles, whooping cough, mumps, chickenpox and hepatitis B. The change could take effect later this year, depending on how the department responds to comments. The new rule would put Kansas in line with recommendations from the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, which guides vaccine use in the U.S. Kansas' health department also pursued greater vaccination requirements amid outbreaks of measles, a disease easily prevented with a shot. 

The new rule would preserve exemptions from vaccination mandates for medical or religious reasons, but many people in the hearing said the requirements give the government too much power. They also argued that vaccine skeptics are ignored and problems kept quiet. "Vaccine science is tobacco science," said Tasha Haas, a writing instructor at Kansas City Kansas Community College who spoke against the requirement. Vaccine opponents said parents should decide whether their children are immunized and suggested that a recent Kansas Supreme Court decision protecting abortion rights gives people an absolute right to make their own medical decisions. 

But health department spokeswoman Kristi Pankratz said the remarks at Thursday's hearing are only a small portion of the comments that the agency has received about the rule in the past 60 days. A handful of health advocates and health care professionals at Thursday's hearing emphasized the importance of vaccines. Gretchen Homan, a Wichita pediatrician and chairwoman of the Immunize Kansas Coalition, said children need to be able to attend school without fear of becoming sick from infectious disease. "There are things in this world that we cannot change," Homan said. "But the things I can protect them from, like infectious disease, I will make that choice."

Information from: The Wichita Eagle

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)
contact@kansaspublicradio.org