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Washington State Bill restricts measles vaccine exemption

FILE – In this January 30, 2019 file signals published on the Vancouver Clinic in Vancouver, Wash., Varna patients and visitors of a measles outbreak. Washington State Legislators voted on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 to remove their parents' ability to claim a personal or philosophical exception to vaccinating their children for measles, although medical and religious exceptions will remain. (AP Photo / Gillian Flaccus, File) OLYMPIA, Wash. Washington State Legislators voted Tuesday to remove parents' ability to claim a personal or philosophical exception to vaccinating their children for measles, although medical and religious exceptions will remain. The voice comes as the number of measles cases nationwide this year has passed 600. The measure now leads to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has expressed support for limiting exceptions. The state has seen 74 cases of measles this year. Most cases were centered in a county and involved children 10 or younger who were not immunized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that 626 cases of measles at the end of last week have been confirmed in the US so far this year, up from 555 a week ago. While 22 states have reported cases, most of the country's cases are centered in New York City and in nearby Rockland County north of the city. Democratic State Rep. Monica Stonier of Vancouver said the action will "reduce the risk of our societies face when an outbreak is possible." "It keeps children in school," she said. "It keeps people with compromised…

Washington State Legislators voted Tuesday to remove parents’ ability to claim a personal or philosophical exception to vaccinating their children for measles, although medical and religious exceptions will remain.

The voice comes as the number of measles cases nationwide this year has passed 600.

The measure now leads to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has expressed support for limiting exceptions. The state has seen 74 cases of measles this year. Most cases were centered in a county and involved children 10 or younger who were not immunized.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that 626 cases of measles at the end of last week have been confirmed in the US so far this year, up from 555 a week ago. While 22 states have reported cases, most of the country’s cases are centered in New York City and in nearby Rockland County north of the city.

Democratic State Rep. Monica Stonier of Vancouver said the action will “reduce the risk of our societies face when an outbreak is possible.”

“It keeps children in school,” she said. “It keeps people with compromised immunities safe in their communities.”

Washington is among 17 states that allow any type of non-medical vaccine release for personal or philosophical beliefs. In addition, there are medical and religious exemptions for participation in the state’s public or private schools or licensed kindergartens. Medical and religious exceptions remain during the action.

If no exception is claimed, children must be vaccinated against or show evidence of acquired immunity for almost a dozen diseases – including polio, whooping cough and measles – before they can go to school or go to orphanages.

The State Health Ministry said that 4% of Washington K-12 students have medical vaccine exemptions. Of these, 3.7% of the exceptions are personal and the rest are religious.

While the Senate had first applied for a bill that would have removed the philosophical exception for all required childcare vaccines, both chambers finally agreed to move on with House Bill focusing only on measles, kotz, rubella vaccines – also known as MMR .

Republican Republic Joe Schmick said the action was “the wrong direction we were moving”.

“The parents should be doing this conversation, and they should be the one who decides,” he said.

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