Lawmakers: Remove 'personal belief' exemption for vaccines

Kebby Johnson center of Spokane Wash. holds a sign that reads

Approximately 700 people gathered for a public hearing in Olympia to oppose a bill that would put more requirements on families attempting to back out of mandatory vaccinations for children, The Washington Post reported.

Washington is among 17 states, including OR, that allow some type of non-medical exemption for vaccines for "personal, moral OR other beliefs", according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. We'll also look at why some parents choose not to vaccinate their children.

The cases are primarily in children ages 1 to 10, most of whom were unvaccinated.

However, there is now a greater push to change the current legislation. Lawmakers heard arguments on a proposed bill that would ban the measles vaccine exemption for philosophical reasons. Unless an exemption is claimed, a child is required to be vaccinated against or show proof of acquired immunity of almost a dozen diseases - including polio, whooping cough and mumps - before they can attend school or a child care center. "It certainly has reached a critical state in my county".

Those with the disease are contagious for four days before a rash appears and up to four days after the rash appears, according to Public Health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus lives in the nose and throat of the infected and is spread through sneezing and coughing. Most of the Washington cases are concentrated in Clark County, just north of Portland, Oregon.

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People on both sides of the debate were allowed to speak at a hearing on Friday, Feb. 8. Washington lawmakers hope to get the measure passed by April.

Despite the outbreak, however, hundreds marched to keep the right not to vaccinate their children.

"I don't feel I'm putting my child at risk". "There's nothing that's going to change my mind on this on that specific vaccination".

Public health did note some likely immune groups, such as those born before 1957, those who are certain they have already had the disease and those up-to-date on vaccines - one dose for children up to four years old and two doses for those four and older.

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