Bill Would Make Exempting Children From Vaccinations More Difficult

Feb 20, 2013

SALEM, Ore. – A bill in Salem would make it harder for Oregon parents to opt out of immunizing their children. Virginia Alvino reports.

  According to the Oregon Health Authority, the state has the highest rate of non-vaccinated kindergartners in the country - over 5% statewide, and as high as 70 percent in some cities.

Under current law, school children are required to submit a form verifying they’ve received required vaccines. Kids can be exempt for medical or religious reasons. But parents can also decide to skip getting their children vaccinated.

The proposed law would still permit parents to make that decision, but would require them to prove they’ve been educated about the risks associated with not immunizing a child.

Pediatrician Dr. Jay Rosenbloom says it’s important for parents to have access to medical opinions if they choose to exempt their children from vaccinations.

Rosenbloom: ”We want to make sure that parents are making an informed consent. That whatever information they have it is either from a person who is actually knowledgeable enough to answer their questions, or from a module that they can get online.”

The new bill would not change the right to exempt children from vaccinations for religious reasons, although it would remove that language from the mandate.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio