Democratic congresswoman Frederica Wilson of Florida's 24th district said Tuesday that she is preparing to file legislation that will mandate certain vaccinations, with minimal exceptions, for all students who attend public schools.
Wilson’s legislation comes as a measles outbreak has started to make its way across the nation. The outbreak started at Disneyland in California and has since spread to 14 states and approximately 100 people have been diagnosed with the disease.
There have been four recorded cases of measles in Florida, but each case was of tourists coming into the state.
“As a former elementary school principal, I know the importance of childhood vaccinations. Research has shown that vaccinations are effective; they keep children healthy, save lives, and protect future generations of Americans,” Wilson said. “The health and safety of children should be our top priority. Children who are not vaccinated put themselves and others in danger of acquiring and spreading preventable diseases, particularly to those individuals who cannot receive vaccinations, such as infants, pregnant women, and individuals with compromised immune systems, including the elderly and those with diseases like HIV/AIDS and leukemia.”
The outbreak has generated discussion on all levels about the need for vaccinations and the science behind vaccinations. Scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the National Institutes for Health support vaccines as does a broad spectrum of politicians from both sides of the aisle.