Oregon lawmakers wade into vaccination debate

Stethoscope and Medical Chart

 

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon has the highest rate of nonmedical immunization exemptions for kindergartners in the country, and some lawmakers would like to see the number fall.

The Senate is expected to vote next week on a bill that would require parents to prove they consulted a physician, or have completed an online educational video before refusing vaccines for their children.

Doctors and public health officials back the plan, saying unvaccinated children could cause a resurgence of preventable diseases. Opponents say the measure infringes on religious freedoms.

State data released this week show that 6.4 percent of Oregon kindergartners this school year had a nonmedical exemption from vaccination for at least one disease, up from 5.8 percent last year.