SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Parents who want to maintain the right to refuse vaccinations for their children are mounting a strong fight against an Oregon bill that takes aim at the state's highest-in-the-nation rate of non-medical vaccine exemptions.
The measure would eliminate personal, religious and philosophical exemptions to vaccine requirements. If the bill becomes law, Oregon would follow West Virginia and Mississippi in passing such legislation.
Many Oregon parents opt out of or delay all or specific vaccinations. Seven percent of the 2013-2014 kindergarten class filed for non-medical vaccine exemptions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the median exemption rate was 1.8 percent nationwide for last year's class.
Opponents argue it takes away their medical freedom and right to informed consent. Supporters say the public's health should come first.