Anti-vaxxers plan to subvert changes to vaccination laws
Monday February 11, 2019. 09:30 PM , from Ars Technica
This child, who had been ill with measles, exhibited the characteristic rash on the fourth day of its evolution. Measles can cause hearing loss and brain damage, and it can be fatal in young children. (credit: CDC/NIP/ Barbara Rice)
Lawmakers in Oregon and Washington state are scrambling to pass new vaccination laws as a swiftly spreading measles outbreak rages in Washington’s Clark County, a hotbed of anti-vaccine sentiment just north of Portland, Oregon.
New bills aim to eliminate personal and philosophical exemptions for standard life-saving vaccines in schoolchildren—exemptions that have fueled such outbreaks and allowed once-bygone infectious diseases to come roaring back in the United States. But as the lawmakers work to craft their new bills, they may do well to keep a close eye on their counterparts in California, who are now realizing the pitfalls of such laws—and debating how to avoid them.
Since California banned non-medical vaccine waivers three years ago, the number of children with medical exemptions in the state has tripled. The medical exemption rate rose from 0.2 percent to 0.7 percent statewide. While California’s overall vaccination level increased two percent, there are still small pockets where vaccination rates are low. The boom in medical exemptions has left some counties’ vaccinations rates below the threshold necessary to keep diseases, such as measles, from spreading.
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