SALEM – Critics have blasted a decision by the Oregon Democrats to slaughter a bill to vaccinate more children against measles and other preventable diseases in order to levy a tax on large companies that endanger public health ,
Despite parliamentary approval and the necessary votes in the Senate, the move that made it harder for families to cut back on vaccinations was over-promulgated by a Monday agreement to end a weeklong Republican strike in the Senate repealed a billion-dollar school finance tax.
] After the vaccination, children could only have waived the vaccination rules if a doctor or other medical service provider had concluded that the vaccines would pose a health risk. Otherwise, they would not be able to attend public or private school, head start or pre- and post-school programs.
Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, a Beaverton Democrat and sponsor of the bill, said the move prevents the state from protecting its citizens from a public health crisis. "So I do not want our state to be known," she said. "This is a big public health issue and it is important that we tackle it."
In an interview on the OPB program Think Out Loud Tuesday, Steiner Hayward negotiated with Republican Senate Chairman Herman Baertschiger Jr. of Grants Pass over the weekend. A spokeswoman for Brown responded on Monday or Tuesday not to a request for an opinion on the role of the governor.
The Senate Democrats had considered strategies to force the Republicans to return to Salem Send the Oregon State Police to rally the absent legislators.
Steiner Hayward said she had negotiated possible changes to the vaccination law over the weekend, and Senate Democrat leader Ginny Burdick of Portland had negotiated with Republicans to change a weapon, a bill that the Democrats also agreed to kill on Monday.
"The governor made another decision and hit a deal, and here we are today," Steiner Hayward said.
More than 70 people, including four from Oregon, were diagnosed in the course of a month-long measles outbreak in the Pacific. "As the recent outbreak of measles has shown, vaccine-preventable diseases are a growing threat due to the relatively low immunization coverage in the northwest," said Rob Cowie, a spokesman for the Oregon Health Authority, the state health department.
Oregon has the highest rate of unvaccinated kindergarten teachers in the country, with at least 7.5% of their families requesting exemption. Christian and non-traditional private schools are top of the list for unvaccinated children, but even at some public schools, the exemption rates are close to 50 percent.
The state allows parents to either talk to a doctor or watch a video on the Ministry of Health's website to obtain a waiver. The majority of families are eligible for exemption with the video option. This makes Oregon uniquely vulnerable to an outbreak, according to Diane Peterson, Deputy Director of Immunization Action Coalition, funded by the CDC.
"Oregon is a breeding ground for a measles outbreak," Peterson said. "All you need is to introduce a person with the disease into the church, and it will spread like wildfire."
Oregon was one of several states that proposed non-medical exemptions in response to a national revival. The state is one of 17 states where families have the opportunity to complete the required school vaccinations for personal, philosophical or religious reasons ,
] The neighboring state of Washington passed a law this year to end all non-medical exemptions for the measles vaccine, while Maine is working to erase his religious and personal exemptions for all vaccines. Some states, including Rhode Island, have introduced measures to introduce derogations.
The anti-vaccine campaign rose in the 1990s after a study suggested an association between measles vaccine and the onset of autism. The study was then exposed and withdrawn.
Mississippi, California and West Virginia are the only states that have banned all non-medical exceptions. Mississippi has the highest vaccination coverage for children in the country, while the California law passed in 2015 resulted in a significant increase in vaccine numbers.
In Oregon, Republican and Democratic leaders are still wondering why the vaccination is particularly important Steiner Hayward said she was not involved in the negotiations and that she personally received a phone call from Brown to tell her that the vaccine bill would not progress in this session.
Burdick, Democratic Senate Chairman, stressed that it was worthwhile to lure the Republicans back to the Capitol and vote for a $ 1 billion annual increase in school funding. She said that it was not a response to the critical opposition that hundreds of parents have voiced against vaccinating their children.
"The people who resisted this bill only behaved badly in relation to the building," Burdick said in a message conference Monday. "And one of the things that torments me is that I'm afraid some of them will feel that tactic works, and this tactic had nothing to do with what happened."
– Molly Harbarger | [email protected] | 503-294-5923
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