Kansans react to new state vaccination rules

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says Kindergarten and First Grade students need two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine. Seventh graders and some juniors in high school need a meningitis vaccine. All that, before the fall semester begins.

One parent and member of an anti-vaccination group says that she opposes mandatory vaccinations in general, and in this case thinks the health department is doing the wrong thing. Connie Newcome is a mother from Inman, Kansas, and she is the president of the group Kansans for Health Freedom. Newcome said around 100 people attended a hearing on June 27 about the new vaccination requirements.

"We had about 20 people who testified being concerned about this," Newcome said. "We don't believe there is any big outbreak of meningitis, or Hepatitis A, or reason to be concerned about vaccinating 700 thousand kids in Kansas for something that's not even a concern. There's been an average of fewer than five cases of meningitis per year in the last 14 years in the state. So, why are they vaccinating for this?"

A mother and medical transcriber from Wichita, Crystal Clupny, said she supports the new rules to help keep kids and others safe.

 "I feel like nowadays, there are so many like elderly, infants, immuno-suppressed patients that can't get vaccines," Clupny said. "So, if we vaccinate our kids, they can help spread those to people that can't get the vaccines, and then keep the disease away from them as much as possible."

The Kansas Department of Education said it's up to each school district to decide whether to enforce those rules. We're reaching out to the Wichita School District to find out if your students have to have those vaccinations before August 14.