TOPEKA — Sen. Mark Steffen introduced a COVID-19 resolution in the Kansas Senate declaring children shouldn’t be compelled to be vaccinated, people who had the virus ought to be exempted from all restrictions and that government needed to cease interfering with physicians recommending unorthodox treatments.
Steffen, a Hutchinson Republican and anesthesiologist who cares for COVID-19 patients, has condemned what he referred to as mainstream medical and political propaganda contributing to unnecessary fatalities during the pandemic. He’s an advocate of state legislation stripping county health directors and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment of power to impose emergency restrictions.
“We will win this vaccine battle. And, we will win the liberal, communist war being waged against us,” Steffen said.
His nonbinding resolution introduced in the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee on Thursday pushed back against the international effort by governments and medical leaders to deepen vaccination of populations in response to the pandemic. He put forward the resolution at a time when spread of COVID-19 in the United States was sharply escalating and hospitals were under duress from influx of critically ill patients.
“Healthy children should not be subjected to forced vaccination,” Steffen’s said in the resolution. “There are negligible clinical risks from a COVID-19 infection for a healthy child under 18 years of age. The risks to the long-term health of children remain too high.”
Wave of 1,225 fatalities
Steffen, who spoke at a September convention in Lenexa dedicated to ending compulsory vaccinations, said children receiving a COVID-19 shot “risked severe adverse events, including permanent damage to the brain, heart, immune system and reproductive system.”
Since Steffen’s appearance at that Freedom Revival in the Heartland event, Kansas has documented an increase of 221,904 cases of COVID-19, 4,173 additional hospitalizations for the virus and 1,246 more fatalities linked to COVID-19. The latest totals for Kansas: 621,273 cases, 17,624 hospitalizations and 7,162 deaths.
Steffen’s perspective on vaccination of children ran counter to recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In early January, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said children age 5 and older should be vaccinated and adolescents age 12 to 17 should receive a booster shot five months after the primary series.
Tim Williamson, a critical care physician at the University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kan., said hospitalizations for COVID-19 were surging, including intake of children stricken by the virus. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)
“It is critical that we protect our children and teens from COVID-19 infection and the complications of severe disease,” Walensky said. “This booster dose will provide optimized protection against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.”
Tim Williamson, a pulmonologist, critical care specialist and vice president of quality and safety at the University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kan., said Friday that record numbers of children were being hospitalized with COVID-19.
“That is unfortunate,” he said. “You have to be really sick to get in a hospital now. They really are full of the sickest patients we’ve seen, I think, in my career in medicine.”
Amber Schmidtke, chair of the division of natural sciences and mathematics at the University of St. Mary based …….