Oklahomans elected Republican Kevin Stitt as their governor last Tuesday, ushering into the state’s government “an anti-vaxxer who doesn’t understand how herd immunity works,” the Friendly Atheist lamented on Sunday.
> Stitt beat Democrat Drew Edmondson by a comfortable 12 points despite never having run for elected office before, and he gives all the credit to God.
> “I’ve got to give the Lord all the credit for getting me to this point,” Stitt, 45, told The Oklahoman Tuesday night. “It’s an amazing thing, to go from no name ID to becoming governor of this great state, but people are ready for change, and I’ve been saying that from the very beginning.”
The Daily Beast reported prior to the midterm elections that Stitt admitted he and his wife do not vaccinate all six of their children with every immunization available:
> At an appearance before a conservative political forum this past February, Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt said he personally did not vaccinate some his own kids and opposed legislation that would require vaccinations for children if they wanted to attend public schools.
> “I believe in choice,” Stitt said, “And we’ve got six children and we don’t vaccinate, we don’t do vaccinations on all of our children. So we definitely pick and choose which ones we’re gonna do. It’s gotta be up to the parents, we can never mandate that. I think there’s legislation right now that are trying to mandate that to go to public schools, it’s absolutely wrong. My wife was home schooled, I went to public schools, our kids go to Christian school, and that’s back to a parent’s choice.”
> Stitt’s comments raise the specter that Oklahoma could water down immunization laws should he be elected the state’s governor this fall. They also place him within a growing fringe of politicians who have, in recent years, expressed skepticism over the prevalence of childhood vaccinations — a group that includes President Donald Trump himself.
But Stitt misunderstands how vaccinations benefit communities, doesn’t care that others will be harmed by loosening rules around vaccinations in the name of parental choice, or both.
> Stitt values “personal choice” above the lives of sick students. He’s showing a lack of compassion as well as a misunderstanding of key scientific principles that affect the lives of every Oklahoman. If he uses his power to make vaccines optional for public schoolchildren, it would cause long-lasting damage to the people he’s supposed to be protecting. Here’s hoping the media, activists, and other politicians keep Stitt from inflicting that damage on his state.