New Kansas vaccine requirement boosts anti-vax group membership, president says

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Leaders of a Kansas anti-vaccination group say their membership numbers are surging in response to two new immunization requirements for schoolchildren.

As of Aug. 2, Kansas is requiring students beginning seventh grade to receive a meningitis vaccine. And students entering kindergarten or first grade need two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine. The vaccines are required for children in public or private schools.

Connie Newcome, president of Kansans for Health Freedom, said the nonprofit group has grown dramatically. She says Kansans want to make their own decisions about vaccines without the government telling them what to do.

The Kansas City Star reports the opposition comes as state health officials are trying to improve Kansas’ low ranking for the meningitis vaccine, and an only slightly better ranking for hepatitis A vaccinations.

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