Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Lawmakers: Remove 'personal belief' exemption for vaccines

Lawmakers: Remove 'personal belief' exemption for vaccines

This bill simply put it is about safe schools and protecting vulnerable children we are now in the midst of a totally preventable musicals outbreak which illustrates the importance and timeliness of this bill over the last ten years Washington has had three large measles outbreaks and one of which included the death of an immunocompromised person exposed to measles in a clinic waiting room.

Lawmakers in the U.S. Northwestern state of Washington, which is battling a measles outbreak, are considering a bill that would prohibit parents from claiming a personal or philosophical exemption to their children receiving vaccinations. Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency. We'll also look at why some parents choose not to vaccinate their children.

Proponents of eliminating the personal exemption argue that schools must be safe and protect vulnerable children.

Wiesman told the panel that compared to other outbreaks in the state in the past decade, "the outbreak we are dealing with right now is larger and infecting people faster than recent history".

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

Susie Corgan, with Informed Choice Washington, said after the hearing that parents who are anxious about their children having adverse reactions to vaccines have a right to philosophical exemptions. Opponents of the eliminating the exemption argue that the vaccines come with a medical risk and that therefore people must have a choice about whether to use them. The records showed that 3.7 percent of those exemptions were personal, while the remainder were religious exemptions.

Washington is one of 17 states that have legislation that gives citizens the right to refuse vaccination for philosophical reasons. That measure, which has not yet been scheduled for a hearing, would not allow personal or philosophical exemptions to be granted for any required school vaccinations.

Parents and guardians who refuse to vaccinate their children marched down to Washington in order to oppose a bill that will require measles vaccination for students in public school. Vermont also abandoned its personal exemption in 2015.

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