Washington House passes bill to limit measles vaccine exemption

Washington House passes bill to limit measles vaccine exemption

The Washington state House of Representatives has passed a bill that would limit parents’ ability to exempt their school-age children from the measles vaccine.

House Bill 1638 would end the ‘personal or philosophical’ exemption option, which currently allows parents to opt their school-age children out of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. It would be required for all students going to school, be it private or public, as well as day-cares.

The bill passed in the House had several amendments added to it, which included making it so employees and volunteers at day-cares have to prove they have the MMR vaccine, grandfather in high school students with current exemptions, and also make it so parents could opt their children out if they have a parent or sibling that also has a compromised immune system, or adverse affects to vaccines.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, there are currently almost 42,000 students with exemptions from vaccinations because of personal reasons.

State representatives passed the bill in a 57 to 40 vote late Tuesday night. It now heads to the senate, which is currently considering its own, broader version of the bill.

Senate Bill 5841 eliminates the philosophical or personal objection exception for any vaccine which is required to attend school or a licensed day care center, not just the MMR vaccine.

It’s not clear yet which bill would ultimately become law, if both are passed before next week’s deadline to get policy bills voted out of the chamber of origin.

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