Health | Education

Ashland's Low Vaccination Rate Brings Federal Visit

OPB | Dec. 30, 2008 8:08 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:12 a.m. | Portland, OR

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By Rob Manning

Parents refusing to vaccinate their children in one Oregon city have drawn federal attention. Rob Manning reports.


More than one-quarter of the kindergartners in the city of Ashland don’t have all the vaccinations required by Oregon law, according to the Jackson County health department.

Parents can refuse vaccinations on religious, or ethical grounds, but the refusal rate in Ashland is about eight times the state average.

The particularly high incidence encouraged the National Vaccine Program office in Washington, D.C. to make Ashland one of only three places it’s visiting, nationwide.

Science advisor, Ben Schwartz, says the idea isn’t to convince people to use vaccines. He says his office, and the Centers for Disease Control, want to channel parents’ concern into research.

Ben Schwartz: “So the information that we get from the community will help us develop that research agenda.”

The January 10th meeting begins with a review of current research — and discussions will last most of the day.

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