The bill is dead. Oregon lawmakers were, thankfully, able to kill a bill that would have put mandatory vaccinations on the books.
“Despite passing the House and having the necessary votes in the Senate, the measure to make it harder for families to opt out of required vaccinations was nixed as part of a deal announced Monday to end a week-long Republican walkout over a multibillion school funding tax.
Under the vaccination measure, sponsored by state Rep. Cheri Helt, R-Bend, children would only have been be able to forgo vaccine requirements with a doctor’s note, otherwise they’d be unable to attend public school.”1
Although the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, continued her fear-based rhetoric about the state being unable to protect “its citizens from a public health crisis,”1 no one in Oregon died of the measles and fewer than 20 people have contracted the virus this year. (In fact, the Pacific Northwest saw only 70 people sickened by measles.)
“Oregon has the highest rate of unvaccinated kindergartners in the country, with at least 7.5% of toddlers claiming an exemption. In some schools, more than 40% of children are unvaccinated through the state’s lax exemption process.
The state is one of 17 to allow families to opt out of required school vaccinations for personal, philosophical or religious reasons.”1
Mississippi, California and West Virginia are the only states to have banned all non-medical exemptions. And Mississippi has the highest childhood vaccination rate in the country. (It’s also, one of the top 10 most unhealthy states in the union.)
Robert F Kennedy Jr. publicly thanked Republicans for voting against the bill, even though he is himself a Democrat.