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Wyoming GOP resolution opposes additional vaccine at schools

Measles vaccine
Matthew Lotz/U.S. Air Force

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Republican Party has passed a resolution opposing the addition of another vaccine to the requirements for children in school.

The state Department of Health is considering changes to vaccine rules in Wyoming, which will be sent to Republican Gov. Mark Gordon for approval, The Casper Star-Tribune reports.

The department added meningococcal vaccine to the required list of school inoculations. The disease can cause meningitis, a life-threatening illness that attacks the central nervous system.

The GOP resolution said the party opposes adding the meningococcal vaccine to the required list due to statements from U.S. Supreme Court justices about a vaccine "regulatory void."

The resolution also referred to money paid by a national program to compensate those injured by vaccines and a Johns Hopkins University study saying medical or hospital error is a leading cause of U.S. deaths.

Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert at Baylor University, said the resolution statements appear to be taken out of context or are flatly misleading. The Johns Hopkins study does not reference vaccines and covers all issues in medicine, Hotez said.

Even if the statements were placed in the proper context, Hotez called the state party's arguments irrelevant to the meningococcal vaccine. The treatment is "highly safe" and prevents a "devastating disease" in children and adolescents, he said.

The resolution was brought by the Lincoln County Republican Party. A message to the county party seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Natrona County Republican Party Chairman Joseph McGinley called the resolution "dangerous and irresponsible."

"It's embarrassing to the party, it's embarrassing to people who call themselves Republicans," said McGinley, a doctor. "When the state party puts its stamp on this, you're almost endorsing this, and it really is a shame."

Gordon has yet to receive the rule changes, but plans to review them and allow more public comment, he said in a statement.

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