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Look up any definition of science and you will find a strong defense of vaccines.

"The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists 14 diseases that "you almost forgot about." The reason they've left our minds? Vaccines.

Simply living is immeasurably easier due to the detailed, systematic development and implementation of the preventative shots. Anyone who thinks otherwise does not have near unanimity of the medical community – the trained professionals in preventing and curing all of our ailments – on their side.

Klemme Republican Sen. Dennis Guth is on the other side. His "research" largely is directed by a group that pushes vaccination exemption bills across the country.

Guth pitched a bill, based on his "research," to the Legislature to do that, but it failed to advance past the committee level. Fortunately, enough of his fellow Republicans sided with science.

Governing to limit regulation and intrusion into private lives is an agreeable position in many instances. Where that debate becomes difficult is when it impacts the general population.

This, however, isn't a difficult debate.

The documented increase in measles – on that list of diseases we don't think about often – indicates the no-shots movement is predictably wrong.

We agree that regulations aren't always good, and fewer is better. But vaccine requirements are a slam dunk.

Guth's efforts to loosen those rules is a brick.

What are you paying for?

We were disappointed with the Iowa Hospital Association's indifference to Guth's unhealthy bill.

The lobbying arm for the state's health care centers donated $1,000 to Guth's 2016 campaign but offered a shrug when contacted by the Globe Gazette about the ill-conceived vaccination exemption bill.

The group, through a spokesman, said it doesn't "expect any legislator to agree with us all the time, and I’m sure they have the same take on us and any other entity or group represented at the Capitol."

IHA's vision statement, however, indicates it should have done exactly that: "The Iowa Hospital Association will be Iowa's most trusted, respected, and influential leader in health policy and advocacy, and a valued resource for information and education."

We anticipate a smaller donation to Guth's next election effort. But this was a missed opportunity by Iowa's medical leaders to educate and lead.

Think long-term

The county health rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a respected annual measure, didn't shine a great light most of North Iowa and on Cerro Gordo County.

The rural nature of the area makes it difficult to significantly improve in the measure, but we appreciate the tone taken by local health officials.

“Health behaviors are the things that we strongly focus on promoting, so we can positively impact the health outcomes,” Kara Vogelson, Cerro Gordo County Public Health organizational development and research manager, said. “They’ll start evening out in the near future, I hope.”

Results of those efforts can't be measured for years down the road, and the effort has to be continuous.

“This data is here as a conversation-starter and determine who has the resources to make it happen,” Ericka Burroughs-Girardi, an action learning coach with the annual study, said.

Let's talk and live healthy, North Iowa.

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Local editorials represent the opinion of the Globe Gazette editorial board, which consists of Publisher Samuel Gett, Editor David Mayberry, and Regional Editor Jim Cross. Contact the board or send letters to news@globegazette.com.

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