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Think Out Loud

Boosting Immunizations

Pete Springer/OPB

I’ve had all my shots. Well, I think I’m due for my tetanus booster but other than that, I’m good. But if I didn’t want to keep up on my immunizations, I don’t know that I’d get any pressure from anyone to do otherwise. However as a parent, I was required to show proof of my daughter’s immunizations to her daycare if I wanted to keep her there — or present a document indicating that I was exempting her based on a religious or philosophical objection.

That Oregon law applies to pretty much every place where kids are cared for — in school or otherwise. The same is true in Washington, but there, public health officials say it’s been far too easy to opt out of immunizations. That’s changed with the passage of a new Washington law that requires parents to show proof they’ve gotten information from a health care provider about the risks and benefits of immunizations before opting out.

A couple of years ago, Think Out Loud had a conversation about how parents decide whether to immunize their children after Oregon drew national attention for the unusually high number of school kids in Ashland that were not immunized. What’s changed since then and why does it matter?

How much do you consider public health when deciding whether to vaccinate your kids? What do you think of Washington’s approach to reduce exceptions to immunizations?

Editor’s Note: This show will be broadcast live from a journalism conference put on by the University of Oregon at its Turnbull Center in Portland. The event is free and open to the public, but preregistration with the Turnbull Center is required.

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