County commissioners discussed an immunization benefit program from the Women, Children and Infant (WIC) program.

The program is a part of a universal contract by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment in which a client can receive nutritional benefits for participating in the program.

“What we’re doing is tying their immunizations to that benefit, so we can help ensure that the children do have their immunizations,” Ford County Health Department director Angela Sowers said. “For example, if somebody were to come in and receive their WIC vouchers and their child is 1 and they haven’t had their 6 month immunization, well we’re going to be able to say ‘we need that child to have those in order for you to participate in the program’ unless they can prove to us medically that that child cannot have those immunizations.”

Sowers clarified the purpose behind this program.

“This is just kind of the states way to get those immunization rates up and get those children protected from the diseases they could be exposed to,” she said. “It’s a good way to educate those parents, cause some of them don’t know that their children are in need as far as immunizations, so we can educate at the same time.”

After the topic was moved to discussion, commissioner Chris Boys expressed his feelings towards the idea.

“When I was a kid I think there were four immunizations, now I think there are over 60, and I think it’s just gotten a little bit too much,” said Boys. “I do understand that the government makes some money off immunizations, I’m just not a big fan of the multi-shot, I’m not a big fan of mercury being in there. There are kids with ADHD problems but there aren’t facts that back up immunization, so I don’t want to vote for this at all.”

Boys then assured Sowers that the issue itself was not solely because the health department.

“I’m sure your deparment educates very well,” he said. “I think this is more of a over-reach in my mind, so I’m not for that.”

Commissioner Shawn Tasset followed up by stating that he also feels that this is an “over-reach” by the government.

Sowers followed up stating that the program does allow for some exceptions by the state where a doctor can sign off and release a child from having to receive immunizations under this program if it were to cause health issues.

Commission Ken Snook voted to approve this program. Tasset stated that he would “reluctantly” vote in favor, with only Boys voting against the attachment. No further action was taken.

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