Idaho House passes three bills supporting immunization

A trio of bills co-sponsored by Democratic Reps. Chris Edwards and Francine DelMonte cleared committees and were passed Wednesday evening by the Idaho House of Representatives.

The three bills — known as the “Kent Smith resolutions” — were among the most frequently introduced legislation in the recent legislative session. The resolution name, which has become symbolic of the bill and the controversial vaccine-coverage debates, pays tribute to Kent Smith, a physician who broke the news of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the Idaho Falls area last year.

The resolution is meant to highlight Smith’s work in protecting patients and respect for scientist/conscientious objectors, said DelMonte’s legislative director Kurt Tholeman.

One bill calls for the creation of an insurer for children to provide coverage for “vaccine related immune responses” for infants born with missing or mildable immune systems as well as children with “mild autoimmune disorder.”

The legislation would allow insurers to charge employers for coverage of pregnant women’s vaccination records — provided that the charges were paid from private insurance.

Another bill would promote “community vaccination programs” — meaning a program where people, including those who otherwise have the option to skip the mandatory vaccination, participate in a state sponsored immunization program.

The third bill would allow for the construction of centers for “vaccine safety research and training.”

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