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Salem to consider ending non-medical vaccine exemptions

Pictured are vaccination syringes. For the 2017-2018 school year, Jackson and Josephine Counties were the second and third least vaccinated counties for K-12 education statewide, both with rates at 89%. (Courtesy KATU)

The recent measles outbreak in northern Oregon and southern Washington could have a lasting impact for all Oregon residents.

Representative Mitch Greenlick of Oregon House District 33 has called for a bill to end non-medical vaccine exemptions for all diseases in the state of Oregon.

As of now, before getting a non-medical vaccine exemption for their child, a parent has to see a medical professional or watch a video about the health risks an exemption can pose. The bill currently being drafted would put an end to the option all together.

Greenlick says a parent's right to vaccinate or to opt out is beside the question. “This isn’t about their right to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. The question is, if they want to put those kids into some group setting somewhere, then that kid should be vaccinated," Greenlick said.

For the 2017-2018 school year, Jackson and Josephine Counties were the second and third least vaccinated counties for K-12 education statewide, both with rates at 89%.

Herd immunity, the percentile needed to protect children unable to be vaccinated due to medical conditions, is estimated to be 93-95% for measles, according to the World Health Organization. That figure varies for other diseases.

No date is set on when the bill will be ready for a vote, but Greenlick says it could be adopted this legislative session.

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