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Washington Expected to Remove Exemption for Measles Vaccine – Should More States Follow?

Should more states remove "philosophical reason" exemptions?

by Countable | 4.19.19

What’s the story?

  • After 64 confirmed measles cases, the Washington State Senate has passed a measure that would revoke the state’s personal belief exemption from vaccinations for measles, mumps, and rubella.
  • The bill, Promoting Immunity Against Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, is expected to pass the House and be signed by Gov. Jay Inslee (D).
  • Parents would still be allowed to claim religious exemptions.

 What are personal exemptions?

  • While scientific evidence shows that vaccines are safe and effective, 18 states currently allow parents to opt-out of vaccinating their children for “philosophical reasons.” Religious exemptions are in place in 47 states and the District of Columbia.

Source: Adapted from Immunization Action Coalition, Feb. 2017 (published by the National Conference of State Legislatures).

What are the laws?

Which states allow nonmedical exemptions?

  • Nonmedical exemptions (NMEs) are permitted in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

What are people in Washington saying?

“A vote against this bill is a vote against public health,” said Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver. “A vote against this bill is a vote against the safety of our public spaces.”
“We keep hearing ‘the science is settled, the science is settled,’” said Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver. “It is not settled.”

What do you think?

Should more states remove vaccination exemptions? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Manjurul)

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