OLYMPIA, Wash. – US officials voted on Tuesday to override parents' ability to demand personal or philosophical relief from vaccinating their children against measles, despite medical and religious exemptions.
The vote comes as The number of measles cases this year has exceeded 600 nationwide.
The measure now goes to Governor Jay Inslee, who has spoken out in favor of limiting exceptions. The state has seen 74 cases of measles this year. Most of these cases were concentrated in one district, affecting children who were not immunized (10 years or younger).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that at the end of last week 626 cases of measles in the EU were confirmed US so far this year, up from 555 since a week ago. While 22 states have reported cases, most cases focus on New York City and nearby Rockland County north of the city.
Democratic MP Monica Stonier from Vancouver said the move will "reduce the risk that our communities are threatening" if an outbreak is possible. "
" It keeps children in school, "she said," so that people with compromised immunities in their communities are safe. "
Washington is among the 17 states that have exempted non-medical vaccines for personal use In addition, there are medical and religious exceptions for attending public or private state schools or licensed day care centers, and medical and religious exemptions remain under the measure.
If no exemption is claimed, children must pay nearly a dozen diseases (including polio, whooping cough and measles) are vaccinated against acquired immunity or have evidence of acquired immunity attending school or going to daycare.
The state Department of Health said that 4% of K-12 students in non-medicine Washington have vaccines. Of these, 3.7% are personal exemptions and the remainder are religious.
While the Senate initially petitioned for a bill to remove the philosophical exemption for all vaccines needed for children, both chambers eventually agreed, with the house bill focusing solely on the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine – too known as MMR.
Republican Joe Schmick said the move was "the wrong direction we should go to."
"Parents should be able to make that call, and they should be the one who decides," he said.