Washington State Considers Vaccine Bill Following Measles Outbreak

Maricruz Casares
Febrero 12, 2019

Clark County Public Health reported no new confirmed cases of measles Saturday in the Vancouver, Washington, area's ongoing outbreak. Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency.

The measure does allow proof of disease immunity through laboratory evidence or history of disease to substitute for immunization.

"I want to remind you that the MMR vaccine is extremely safe and highly effective", Washington state Health Secretary John Wiesman told lawmakers, according to the Post, adding that "all reputable scientific studies have found no relation between measles and autism". We'll also look at why some parents choose not to vaccinate their children. With the provision, each child at a public school will have to be vaccinated to protect them against measles, mumps, and rubella.

Those who may have been exposed and believe they have measles symptoms are asked to contact their healthcare provider prior to visiting their offices to avoid more exposure.

Anti-vaccine activists, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a prominent vaccine conspiracy theorist, claimed that health officials are covering up vaccine dangers.

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The Associated Press cited state Department of Health records that showed 4 percent of Washington secondary school students had nonmedical vaccine exemptions.

"Where there is risk, there must be choice, and there is risk with this vaccine as there is with any other medical procedure", she said. Of those, 3.7 percent of the exemptions are personal, with the remainder being religious exemptions.

Washington and neighboring OR are two of the 17 states that allow some type of non-medical exemption for vaccines for "personal, moral OR other beliefs".

Both California and Vermont have removed personal belief vaccine exemptions for schoolchildren.

The proposed bill would eliminate that personal exemption, meaning all children would have to be vaccinated for a range of diseases before enrolling in schools or child care facilities.

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