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How Some States Are Boosting Vaccination Rates

OPB | Feb. 27, 2014 12:06 p.m. | Updated: Feb. 27, 2014 2:30 p.m.

Girl receives a shot (file photo).

Girl receives a shot (file photo).

CDC

Oregon has a distinction that worries public health officials: the state leads the nation in the number of kindergarteners who who start school without one or more of the recommended vaccinations. A new state law requires parents to see a doctor or watch an educational video before opting out of their children’s vaccinations. That law goes into effect March 1.

Washington passed a similar law in 2011 and has seen vaccination rates rise significantly. States all around the nation have considered laws to change vaccination policy in one of two ways: some are trying to make it easier to obtain non-medical exemptions, while others, like Oregon and Washington, are making it more difficult. We’ll talk to Emory University researcher Saad Omer who just released a study on the effect of such laws.

What questions do you have about the state’s role in this kind of public health policy?

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