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More Oregon parents allow their children to be vaccinated when required to review benefits vs. risks of immunizations

Polio vaccinations started in Sweden in 1957

Polio vaccinations started in Sweden in 1957

More Oregon parents have allowed their school age children to be vaccinated once confronted with scientific medical information about the benefits versus risks of vaccinating their children.

State health officials found that 5.8 percent of all kindergarten families still claimed religious or philosophical objection to required vaccines. That’s down from 7%.

A recently enacted state law now requires all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified child care facilities have up-to-date documentation on their immunizations, or have an exemption – either religious or medical. Health officials say medical exemptions are absolute, but they’re still trying to get parents who claim religious or philosophical opposition to change their minds and allow their children to be vaccinated.

Parents or guardians choosing a religious or philosophical exemption are now required to submit to the school or childcare facility a document showing either a signature from a health care practitioner verifying discussion of the benefits and risks of immunization, or a certificate of completion of an interactive online educational video about the benefits and risks of immunization.

Similar laws in surrounding states have led to swift and significant drops in religious or philosophical exemption claims: In California, the rate fell 19 percent, while Washington saw a 25 percent decline. Health officials say that once exposed to scientific information relating to their child’s immune system, more parents are relenting and allowing them to be vaccinated.

How Oregon’s vaccination exemption rate compares nationally won’t be known until August or September, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases its report on all states’ exemption rates.

The latest exemption data were compiled after School Exclusion Day, last February 18th. That was the state deadline for parents or guardians to provide up-to-date immunization or exemption documentation to their children’s schools.

Vaccination exemption rates by individual school will be available in early June.

Health officials say no two children have the same level of resistance to various childhood diseases – even after being vaccinated. Vaccinations are not fool-proof. Those children who have not been vaccinated can be carriers of various diseases and accidentally infect a number of friends or classmates whose immune systems may not be as strong – again, even if they’ve been vaccinated. It’s the logic behind schools barring children from coming to school without proof of being vaccinated unless parents claim medical, philosophical or religious objections.

 

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