Of all the states in the country, Oregon has the worst vaccination rate. In the state, 6.4 percent of parents get a vaccine exemption, and that’s up from 5.8 percent last year. This number was less than two percent in 2001. Right now, state law requires that children be vaccinated to go to public and private school, as well as to use certified child care facilities. But parents can seek an exemption based on either a medical or religious concerns. Lots of Oregonian parents are choosing to forgo vaccinations because they erroneously believe that vaccines are dangerous.
For the uninitiated, this entire problem started back in 1998 with the publication of a study by Andrew Wakefield that purported to link the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study was, however, not just shoddy, but downright fraudulent. Studies conducted since Wakefield’s have found no link between vaccines and ASD, but that hasn’t kept the myth from growing roots in the minds of parents around the world.
This new bill targets the non-medical immunization exemptions. Parents who want a religious-based exemption would have to consult directly with a doctor or watch an educational video about the risks and benefits of vaccines. Then, if the parents choose to withhold the vaccinations from their children, they will have to provide proof of that of the educational consultation to schools and day cares before they enroll their child.