By Brandon Griggs, CNN
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and two other federal agencies Friday, saying their proposed policy on allowing schoolchildren to opt out of required vaccinations amounts to an unconstitutional takeover of states’ powers over health care.
Paxton (R) challenged an opinion released by CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald on August 1 saying that schools should let parents with religious or personal objections to vaccines opt out of mandatory vaccinations for their children and have the children attend the school’s personal beliefs-based vaccine program.
The attorneys general from Kansas and Michigan and the governors of Wisconsin and Ohio also joined the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington.
“In enacting [The Vaccine Coverage Act of 2004] at the behest of the pharmaceutical companies, Congress gave states the authority to establish policies for their own states’ immunization requirements,” Paxton said in a statement. “The executive branch of the federal government, especially at a time when we have an epidemic of vaccine preventable diseases, should not bypass Congress and state laws on the issues of vaccine safety and public health.”
CNN reached out to the CDC and the other agencies for comment but they declined.
The attorney general’s complaint contends that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Fitzgerald incorrectly concluded that “the technical regulations for immunization provided by the CDC will provide parents and guardians all the information they will need to make an informed decision when enrolling a child in school.”
The complaint also questions the correlation between vaccination and childhood diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella.
The federal agencies have argued that the new policy would improve children’s education and ensure that schools would not end up with unvaccinated children for the very reason they are in school.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest data, only 17.3% of Texas children are fully vaccinated, while 86.9% are fully vaccinated in Indiana.