Florida lawmakers are looking to pass a bill that would require all parents to get their children vaccinated.
The bill has garnered some criticism, however, and there is some concern it could create a situation where parents who choose not to vaccine their children will not be able to take advantage of public benefits.
The legislation is being pushed by Republican state Rep. Mark Pody, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat next year.
The measure would require every parent to get a flu shot by the age of 16.
Parents could opt out of getting the shot and instead receive a booster shot from a doctor.
The state legislature is expected to consider the bill this session.
Pody also recently announced a bill aimed at making it easier for families to vaccinating their children.
He said that by requiring vaccination for young children, parents would not have to be “on a tight schedule.”
The bill would also allow parents to opt out for their child’s vaccines for an additional year if the child is at least six months old.
“I think that that is a good idea,” said Pody.
“If I can get this passed this session, we’ll get to see what happens in the next two years.”
Pody says that there is a “growing consensus” that the health benefits of vaccines outweigh the costs.
But the legislation is expected also to face opposition from health advocates, including those who fear it will put parents at risk.
“It’s a good bill, but it’s still a bad bill,” said Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatrician and associate professor of medicine at the University of South Florida.
Lustig said that the current system of vaccinating children is flawed, because children don’t get vaccinated until they are at least one year old, and that it is hard for a parent to opt in.
“You don’t want to be the person who says, ‘I’m not going to vaccinate my child, because I don’t trust their parents,'” Lustig told ABC News.
“This bill would have the parents be able, with the approval of their child, to get in and take their child off the schedule.”
Lustig also warned that the bill is likely to face backlash from those who believe the benefits outweigh the risks of vaccination.
“There is a growing consensus among pediatricians and other pediatricians that this is not the best idea,” Lustig added.
“We have a huge risk of harm, which is why we’ve got a vaccination schedule that is so much longer and much more rigorous than other countries.”
Some experts also questioned whether it would be worth it to vaccinator parents.
Dr. John B. Sprecher, a senior medical officer for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told ABC’s “This Week” that while the legislation could be beneficial for parents, he said it is not clear that it would make sense for parents who are not vaccinated.
“In the case of young children who are immunized but are still in the home, I would think the benefits far outweigh the potential harms,” Spreber said.
The new legislation is likely the latest in a series of measures aimed at fighting the spread of the coronavirus.
Last month, the Florida legislature passed a bill requiring parents to vaccate their children if they have any contact with an infected person or if the vaccine would be administered in public.
The governor signed the bill into law.
“As of this week, there is no indication that this bill is going to be signed into law,” Pody told reporters.
“However, I do want to emphasize that our administration has been working with local officials to see if we can find some way to get this legislation signed into the law.”
In February, Florida passed a law requiring people over the age 5 to get two doses of a flu vaccine.
But parents who refuse to get the flu shot or are not immunized may not be eligible for public benefits, such as tax credits, which have been in place since 2012.
The Florida Legislature also passed a measure last year that allowed people over 21 to get vaccinations for free if they had not had a flu vaccination in the previous three months.
It is expected that similar measures will be introduced in other states next year, including Illinois, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the U.K. has seen the highest number of new coronaviruses in the world, with more than 7,000 new cases.
The number of cases in the U, U.N. and the European Union has reached nearly a billion, with many countries suffering outbreaks.