Doctors, parents raise concerns with relaxed vaccine requirements in Wichita Catholic schools

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 11:02 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Doctors and parents in Wichita raise concerns over a policy change that relaxes vaccine requirements at Catholic schools in the Wichita Catholic Diocese. Since the decision made in late June, doctors in the area have written personal letters to the diocese, asking the bishop to review the change regarding vaccines.

Doctors fear relaxed vaccine requirements could lead to an outbreak in Catholic schools.

“I was contacted by other physicians. I wrote a letter to the Bishop’s office, asking if we could give some medical advice on this,” Dr. Robert Wittler said. “I felt it was important because I see what happens with these kids, and I don’t want to see it again.”

The policy change specifically would allow religious exemptions from highly-recommended vaccines. In the letter to parents, the diocese says vaccines are not in conflict with the Catholic faith, and in the past, the Catholic Diocese of Wichita has only allowed medical exemptions.

The policy change could lead some parents to withdraw from Catholic schools.

“Because of my youngest son’s heart transplant, and the fact that he has to take immune suppressant medications so he won’t reject his new heart, it makes him especially vulnerable,” parent Hemma Clark said. “And because of it, it will not be safe for him to be enrolled in a school where children are not vaccinated. Unless these policies change, it will force us to withdraw our children from enrollment.”

Eyewitness News on Monday reached out to the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, but as of Monday night, had not heard back.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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