A bill in Salem would make it harder for Oregon parents to opt out of immunizing their children.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, the state has the highest rate of non-vaccinated kindergartners in the country — over 5% statewide, and as high as 70% in some cities.
Under current law, school children are required to submit a form verifying they’ve received required vaccines. Kids can be exempt for medical or religious reasons.
But parents can also decide to skip getting their children vaccinated. The proposed law would still permit parents to make that decision, but would require them to prove they’ve been educated about the risks associated with not immunizing a child.
Pediatrician Dr. Jay Rosenbloom says it’s important for parents to have access to medical opinions if they choose to exempt their children from vaccinations.
He explained, “We want to make sure that parents are making an informed consent.”
The new bill would not change the right to exempt children from vaccinations for religious reasons, although it would remove that language from the mandate.