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Parents shoot down statewide immunization database { March 31 2005 }

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Parents Shoot Down Plan For Statewide Immunization Database
Law Would Track Whether Child Has Received Necessary Shots

POSTED: 9:30 am MST March 31, 2005
UPDATED: 10:42 am MST March 31, 2005

DENVER -- A bill that tracks the immunization records of every child and parent in Colorado may soon become law but some parents aren't happy.

The bill passed the house Wednesday and is on the way to Gov. Bill Owen's desk.

Senate Bill 87 would allow the state to compile a database of immunization records of all children as well as how to contact their parents in case the child's immunization records are out of date.

Supporters say it would help remind parents when they need to take their children to the doctor.

Opponents say it violates privacy laws and could lead to consequences for parents who choose not to vaccinate.

"It's a choice you make for your child and it's a personal choice you make with your doctor and think about with your family," said upset parent Shawna Bowler. "I would never have moved here if this law would have been in place two years ago."

Another problem is that every parent and child will automatically be included, opponents said. Instead of an opt-in system, it's an opt-out system, which requires parents to act in order to be excluded from the program.

"We need to allow, in a free society, parents to choose how much information is in the state's hands and how much is not concerning their children and their medical information," said state Rep. Kevin Lundberg, (R) from Larimer County.

"Wall the governor, e-mail, join a protest, do whatever it takes to say this is not acceptable," said concerned mother Jennifer Parker.

Parents can choose not to be included in the database but they will still be technically included in the system, just on the opt-out list.

Even lawmakers who support the bill said there are still some issues, some unknowns, that will need to be ironed out if the law takes effect.

Copyright 2005 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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