Rep. Patti Bellock | The Office of Rep. Patti Bellock
The Illinois House of Representatives adopted a bill created by Deputy House Minority Leader Patti Bellock's that encourages the continued use of vaccines.
"Immunizing children and adolescents helps protect the health of our communities throughout the state of Illinois by slowing down or stopping certain disease outbreaks," Bellock said. "I grew up during the era of the polio epidemic, when thousands of children and adults suffered lifelong paralysis. The advent of the polio vaccine virtually eradicated the disease from the United States, as did the vaccines for measles and other communicable diseases."
HR 184 is in response to the recent nationwide measles outbreak. In January, 102 people from 14 states were found to have measles. The majority of cases were linked to one unvaccinated child who visited the Disney parks in California in December. The United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 644 cases from 27 states.
"I respect parents who have concerns about the fears of side effects from certain vaccines, and we still have the physical and religious exemption in place," Bellock added. "However, encouraging vaccination is critical to public health because vaccines prevent outbreaks and keep children safe."