Members of a group called Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights said they, and not the government, should decide whether and when to immunize their children. More than a dozen parents, some carrying babies or pushing strollers, have been at the Capitol the past two weeks talking to lawmakers and handing out fliers that call the childhood vaccination program “a massive, profit-churning government program.”

A leader of the parents’ group, Mary Jo Perry of Pelahatchie, has children who are 24, 13 and 11. She said that when her youngest child was 5, he had seizures within 72 hours of having a vaccination.

“I am convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt if I had had him vaccinated him when he was a tiny baby, we would not have him as he is today because of the adverse reaction,” Perry said in an interview Thursday.

House Bill 130 would allow parents or guardians to get a certificate saying they have conscientious objections to certain vaccinations for their children. It would have to be renewed every year. The state already allows people to seek exemptions from the vaccine schedule because of medical situations. For example, Currier said, a person with a compromised immune system would qualify for a medical exemption.

The conscientious objections bill awaits debate in the House Education Committee. Similar bills have died in previous years when they were sent to other committees. The Education Committee chairman, Republican Rep. John Moore of Brandon, said he doesn’t know whether the bill will gain enough momentum to survive this year.

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