SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House of Representatives adopted a resolution Wednesday to encourage the continued use of vaccines for children, adolescents and adults to ensure the safety and health of the citizens of Illinois. The bill, HR 184, was introduced and sponsored by Deputy House Minority Leader and State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale).
“Immunizing children and adolescents helps protect the health of our communities throughout the State of Illinois by slowing down or stopping certain disease outbreaks,” Rep. 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.”
Bellock’s initiative comes in response to the recent nationwide measles outbreak, prompting renewed debate over whether vaccinations should be mandatory for children enrolled in public schools. In January 2015 alone, 102 people from 14 states were reported to have measles. The United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 644 cases from 27 states reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. This represents the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the United States in 2000.
“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,"” Rep. Bellock added. 'However, encouraging vaccination is critical to public health because vaccines prevent outbreaks and keep children safe.”
Rep. Bellock serves the 47th District, which includes portions of Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Westmont, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Burr Ridge and Western Springs.
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