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Senator Proposes Alternative On Non-Medical Vaccine Exemptions


An Oregon senator plans to replace a bill aimed at reducing the state’s high vaccine exemption rate with something less controversial.

Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Beaverton, said she will no longer pursue Senate Bill 442, which would have eliminated all non-medical vaccine exemptions for Oregon school children. The state’s kindergarteners rank highest in the nation for exemption rates.

Instead, she plans to introduce a new measure that would change the informed consent process for parents but also maintain the option of philosophical or faith-based vaccine exemptions.

“Watching a video is not a great way to have an informed consent conversation. … We’re going to take that out as an option, and require that parents have a conversation with their child’s primary care provider,” Hayward said.

The new measure would also require schools to post their student immunization rates in more public places, such as on a school’s website.

Hayward says her original bill had widespread support from Oregonians, but support from her colleagues faltered as the bill gained critical attention from anti-vaccine activists. The senator plans to introduce her new measure during the current legislative session.

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