Does Hickenlooper’s pro-vaccination ad inoculate him from inaction?

An unvaccinated infant rides in a grocery cart where she risks contracting whooping cough. She crawls through her day care nursery, a possible Petri dish for mumps. She goes to Disneyland where the threat of measles looms around her. The message: old-time killer diseases — the kind most people figured modern medicine had whipped –- are back, and our kids are susceptible.

“As a parent, nothing is scarier than watching your child get sick – especially when it’s preventable,” John Hickenlooper says in the video above.

“I know firsthand. When our son was an infant, he spent two nights in the hospital after being exposed to pertussis or whooping cough. This is a very real and very dangerous disease. We’re seeing outbreaks nationwide, even here in Colorado.”

The governor understands the threat. He was talking about it in public service announcements back in 2012. But Colorado’s anti-vaccination rates are still cause for alarm, especially given a 2014 Centers for Disease Control report listing Colorado as the state with the lowest immunization rate among kindergarteners nationwide.

As the Colorado Independent reported Monday, lawmakers at the Capitol are all but throwing up their hands, citing ideological roadblocks, undiminished public misconceptions and misplaced concern about the science of immunization.

Eyes are turning to Hickenlooper. Will he dive into a grassroots public health campaign? Does he have something else planned? Or is he opting out?

Photo by: Jeffrey Beall

The Colorado Independent is a statewide online news source operating in a time when spin is plentiful, but factual, fair and unflinching news in the public interest is all too rare. Our award-winning team of veteran investigative and explanatory reporters and news columnists aims to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard, shine light on the relationships between people, power and policy, and hold public officials to account. We strive to report the news with context, social conscience, and soul, and to give Coloradans the insight they need to promote conversation, understanding and progress in this square, swing state we call home.

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