A bill that will remove the non-medical vaccine exemption for school children is heading out to the Oregon House, after a committee authorized the proposal over the opposition of hundreds of parents.
The measure will condition the attending to the Oregon public schools to compulsory vaccinations unless the student has a doctor’s observation.
The plan appeared as this year’s measles cases is the highest since 1994 although the health authorities declared the disease eradicated in 2000.
Oregon is one of the state which has the most flexible vaccine laws, as it is one of the 14 states to allow parents to reject the vaccines for personal, religious and philosophical reasons, and also has the highest kindergarten exception percentage in the country at 7.6%.
Parents will only be able to claim medical exemptions to the shot under the intended bill; the unvaccinated children would still be allowed to attend online school under the bill, but they would not be allowed to participate to in-person school-related activities.
Governor Kate Brown declared to the reporters on Thursday that she is supporting the Oregon bill, and will surely be signing it.
Hundreds of parents gathered at the capitol this week to show their opposition and numerous lawmakers on both sides of the dispute have been fighting with where to delimit the public safety and individual rights. The inboxes of the committee members were also inundated with emails from the opposition before the vote on Friday.
However, the opposition didn’t hinder the vaccine supporters who claimed that science has proven that vaccines are safe and effective.
Senator James Manning Jr, a Democrat from Eugene declared that the recent measles eruption at two Los Angeles universities made the lawmakers to be urgent in their decision on non-medical vaccine exemptions.
The senator added that the events were pretty disturbing and while he supports the parents’ right to choice, the issue is much bigger.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca