public health

The Trading Post in Paonia is the kind of place you might expect to meet people who don’t vaccinate their kids. There’s bulk quinoa on the shelves, local potatoes in baskets and all sorts of sugar and wheat free goodies for sale near the cash register. The whole place has a decidedly crunchy, alternative vibe, and that extends to medicine. The last time I went there, the first three people I talked to told me they didn’t vaccinate their children.

Flickr user El Alvi

Colorado has one of the country's highest rates of un or undervaccinated school children. And some school districts in Western Colorado have rates five times higher than the state average. The majority of those kids have personal belief exemptions, which allow parents to easily opt out of some or all vaccines.

A bill in the statehouse would try to change that by requiring parents to talk to a doctor or watch an online class before signing a personal belief exemption. But a senate committee cut those requirements out of the bill yesterday.