When classes begin at Clark County School District on Monday, approximately 5,000 of its students will be missing at least one of the 11 vaccines recommended by public health officials. And they’ll have the support of one local elected official.
In an official city newsletter emailed Tuesday, Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore chimed in on the issue of childhood vaccinations. After sharing two flyers for back-to-school health fairs where families can get free vaccinations, she included a written message titled “freedom and vaccines.”
In it, Fiore wrote: “As a believer and promoter of freedom, I think it’s important to know your rights as a parent, whether you are for or against vaccines.”
CCSD recommends vaccines but cannot legally require them. Parents are allowed to request an exemption. According to the Review-Journal, about 1.5 percent of the district’s students have — not enough to trigger concerns about about an epidemic but troubling nonetheless to many. Researchers have declared a number of states and cities “hotspots” and warned they are vulnerable to outbreaks because of the high-enough concentration of unvaccinated children.
Fiore’s newsletter goes on to say: “Vaccines have become so routine and mainstream that it’s easy to overlook the list of possible side effects. We sit there just hoping it doesn’t take too long, not thinking about what could go wrong. I’m not saying that anything will go wrong; the odds are in your favor – but if you think about it, it’s still a gamble.”
Fiore has expressed controversial opinions about science and medicine before. She told Desert Companion she believes — “knows” is the actual word she used — that psych meds are responsible for mass shootings. She also believes that cancer can be treated with a baking soda solution.
The Current reached out to Fiore to ask if she is personally against vaccinating children and why. Through a spokesperson she submitted the following statement: “I am traveling with my grandson for his birthday and am unavailable for an interview. In my newsletter, I outlined back to school vaccination information, and urged parents to educate themselves on all sides of the issue so that they can make informed decisions for their children. At no point in the newsletter did I advocate for parents to forego vaccinations. In fact, I included links to free and/or low cost vaccinations clinics.”
Fiore has been a councilwoman since July 2017. She currently serves on the Southern Nevada Health District’s Board of Health. She is also in the running to become Nevada’s Republican National Committeewoman.