Why does Kim Coco Iwamoto Oppose Vaccines?
Aloha Healthcare and Public Health Professionals, January 24, 2024
As we recognize Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, our focus includes, but extends beyond the immediate concerns of cervical cancer prevention. We feel compelled to shed light on a broader issue of national significance as it pertains to vaccine skepticism generally.
On Thursday, May 18, Robert Kennedy Jr. held a rally in Kaneohe. Originally running as a Democrat for President, he’s been known as a prominent figure in the vaccine skepticism movement for several years. Kennedy has consistently expressed skepticism about vaccines, including vaccines like the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which is widely regarded as safe and effective in preventing these diseases.
Nationally, candidates like Robert Kennedy Jr. are dangerous. They harm the public trust in the evidenced-based, demonstrated efficacy of vaccines. This leads to the resurgence of diseases that were long-thought eradicated: measles, polio and mumps.
At the state and local level, we must also strive to reject candidates that espouse these views. Early today, we called upon the Democratic Party of Hawai'i to investigate whether Kim Coco Iwamoto's positions on vaccines align with the party's values and duties, as well as to emphasize the safety and efficacy of vaccines like HPV within the broader context of national health. Kim Coco Iwamoto's espousal of anti-vaccine rhetoric, particularly targeting vaccines like HPV that have been proven to prevent up to 90% of cervical cancer according to the American Cancer Society, is incongruous with these principles.
Kim Coco Iwamoto has, on the record testifying on video against the HPV vaccine in front of the Department of Health:
She has also submitted testimony in favor of bills that would broaden the scope of exemptions from vaccinations
She has also posted tweets about government-forced vaccinations and again uses the language of choice advocates to criticize pro-vaccine individuals.
In conclusion, we appreciate your dedication to maintaining community safety and your vigilance in identifying those who may undermine evidence-based public health efforts. In a time where vaccination is of paramount importance, we must act promptly and decisively to address these concerns.
Mahalo for your unwavering commitment to the health and safety of our community.
Concerned Democrats of House District 25
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From Kim Coco Iwamoto -- Mon, Jan 29, 2024
For the record, you are spreading misinformation about me and my views on vaccinations. Please stop hiding behind this bogus moniker “Concerned Democrats of House District 25;” you should be transparent about who you really are - no room for cowardice. Please share your name and legitimate contact information.
To be clear, I think all vaccines (and all health care) should be free and available to anyone who wants access to any medical intervention and/or health care.
I am proudly pro-choice, especially about a woman’s right to make choices about her reproductive health and her body; she should be able to consult with her physician and have a say what gets removed from, or put into, her body.
I am vaccinated and my daughter is up to date on ALL her vaccinations - she attends a public school and we have not sought a waiver on any vaccinations required by the DOH to attend a DOE school.
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Aloha Kim Coco, Mon, Jan 29, 2024
We appreciate your prompt reply. Every year, 11,500 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed and about 4,000 women die of this cancer. The highest rates of cervical cancer incidence and mortality are in low- and middle-income countries, where vaccinations for HPV are not widespread. Your argument for personal autonomy in the context of opposing community vaccinations and utilizing the same rhetoric as pro-choice advocates equivocates the two when they are not the same.You are deliberately obfuscating the issue at the cost of a vaccine that could prevent 90% of cervical cancer cases by using this language, and it is damaging.
We again ask the questions you did not answer:
1. What are your concerns with the HPV vaccine and do you still have these concerns? You obviously had concerns to testify against them in 2018 and to cite them as an issue in 2020 in public testimony. We are especially confused by this concern, given that Planned Parenthood itself notes that the HPV vaccine is highly effective: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/stds-hiv-safer-sex/hpv/should-i-get-hpv-vaccine
2. Do these concerns extend to other vaccines like the COVID-19 vaccine? You have not offered one public word on your views on the COVID-19 vaccine. The community knows nothing about your position on the COVID-19 vaccine, aside from your other comments raising concerns over vaccinations in general. Do you have a single tweet, a piece of testimony, anything you did publicly that shows you supported the COVID-19 community vaccination efforts?
3. If you are supportive of community vaccinations, why have you testified for exemptions and against allowing the HPV vaccination to be included in the vaccinations required for entry into school? To quote you, you have said, "And then there are those few vaccines that the FDA has studied - and reported that even with the vaccine, the vaccinated can still contract the disease and pass it on to vaccinated and unvaccinated people...what is the point of denying access to education to a student because they did not get the ineffective pertussis vaccination?" This is the same argument that anti-vaxxers used in the context of the pandemic to weaken community vaccination efforts.
To close, there is no single name here. We are a group of individuals dedicated toward ensuring that the principles of public health are preserved and that our Party represents and upholds those values. We look forward to hearing from you about your policy positions on vaccinations.
We appreciate your consideration of our questions,
Concerned Democrats of House District 25
2021: State Democratic Party Chair Announces Plan to Avert Anti-Vaxxer Takeover of Party