OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Parents and children rallied at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Wednesday to push for parental rights regarding vaccinations.
Oklahomans for Health and Parental Rights hosted an awards presentation for Oklahoma legislators who have good voting records when it comes to parental choice.
“I believe that people should have the right to choose whether or not to vaccinate their child. Anytime there is a risk, there has to be the right to choose whether to accept that risk,” said Joshlyn Ocker.
This year, there are several pieces of legislation that pertain to a parent’s right to vaccinate their child against a number of diseases.
“It feels like we are moving backward. We continue to have bills that are run that strip away the ability for us to appropriately educate our citizens on why vaccines are important,” said Rep. Jason Dunnington, (D) Oklahoma City.
While some families say they worry about the safety of vaccines, others say their opposition is out of concern of government overreach.
Those supporting increased vaccinations point to the rise in cases of whooping cough and measles in Oklahoma, which can threaten the lives of newborns and people with compromised immune systems.
One of Oklahoma’s most outspoke advocates for immunizations, Dr. Ervin Yen, was voted out of office in the Republican primary in 2018. He wanted to limit exemptions for vaccinations needed to enroll in public school.