Now Playing:


Think Out Loud

How Some States Are Boosting Vaccination Rates

Girl receives a shot (file photo).

Girl receives a shot (file photo).


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?

vaccines public health

More Think Out Loud

More OPB

Join the Conversation

Send Think Out Loud A Message

Also This Hour

Environmental Update

OPB | Broadcast: Feb. 27, 2014