Dear Community Members,

There are two broad schools of thought among elected officials, particularly in the present day. One says the government must oversee and regulate every aspect of a person’s life.  The other believes that people have the capacity to decide what is best for them and their families and can be trusted with the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution to make those decisions on their own.  One of the most glaring examples of this dichotomy is the debate over government mandated vaccinations.

The recently introduced Assembly bill A 4576 would require everyone from age six months and up to get a seasonal flu vaccine in order to attend public schools.  To many, this is a frightening prospect with government directly mandating an action that should be left up to the individual.

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To counter this, I have introduced Assembly bill A 4659, which would simply make the flu vaccine voluntary and supersede any government mandate.  While it may apply to a specific vaccine mandate, the bill is also designed to draw a line in the sand to prevent further government overreach.  There are over 70 vaccines available to prevent a variety of diseases and conditions.  That is a tremendous testament to advancements in medicine and should be a source of pride for everyone.  However, when the government begins to mandate them, it is cause for alarm.  For example, there was a recent proposal to mandate the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which is promoted to prevent certain cancers from HPV, such as cervical, anal and genital warts. It is given to both girls and boys as young as nine years old.   The absurdity of giving a nine year old a vaccine to prevent a sexually transmitted disease is surpassed only by making it a government mandate.

As someone who has been vaccinated and had his children vaccinated, I am by no means anti-vaccine. What I am though is pro personal choice in charting one’s own medical destiny.  That goes for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention options. The government has no right to enter into the very private world of medical decisions, particularly those between a patient and doctor. I believe the government’s role should be to provide the public with as much scientific and research data as possible, make recommendations, and let individuals decide for themselves what is the best course of action to take from there.

With a Covid-19 vaccine nearing availability, a compulsory flu vaccine will open the floodgates to mandating that and any number of other existing vaccines – all in the name of the “greater good.”  Moreover, with other advancements in technology, the potential for more future government overreach will increase exponentially.  The freedoms we enjoy in this country, based on the precepts of personal choice and responsibility are too precious to surrender to government under any circumstances.

 

Sincerely, 

Gerry Scharfenberger