Sen. Pat Roberts on Tuesday voiced concern about the low vaccination rate in his home state of Kansas at a Senate hearing.
Kansas allows exemptions from vaccinations for religious reasons. Fewer than 90 percent of children enrolled in Kindergarten in Kansas have been vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That rate falls short of the threshold the federal government set as a baseline for preventing outbreaks of measles, whooping cough and other infectious diseases.
“That’s not good,” said Roberts, 78. “I had the measles. And as a parent and a grandparent, I support vaccination.”
Roberts’ comments came at hearing on the surge of vaccine-preventable diseases before the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
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The Repbulican lawmaker noted questioned health officials about what the government was doing to better educate parents about the importance of vaccines. He noted that Kansas recorded 19 cases of vaccine-preventable diseases last year, the most common of which was measles.
“While we haven’t had any new measles cases reported yet this year, our public health workers are concerned, our parents are concerned, and I am concerned,” Roberts said.