EUGENE, Ore. — Parents in Oregon may soon have a harder time opting out of vaccines for their kids. A bill that only requires the governor’s approval would require parents to get a signed note from a doctor before opting out of vaccines for their kids. Lane County Public Health was a driving force behind the legislation saying vaccines help prevent health epidemics. But, some parents opting out of vaccines disagree.
The health department said people need to be educated on the truth about vaccines before opting out, which is the reason behind the new legislation. It requires parents be informed before opting out.
“We know that Oregon is the worst state in the union as far as exemptions and we are third worst in Oregon. So, we’re kind of at the epicenter of the worst so to speak,” said Jason Davis, Spokesperson for Lane County Public Health.
While health experts don’t know the exact number of adults opting out of vaccines, this year parents opted out 7.9% of kindergartners. “It sets up for disaster scenarios in terms of community immunity, we need 92-94% immunization rates in our community to prevent us from worst case scenarios with disease outbreaks like measles,” said Davis.
Rebecca Middleton has four kids, but only three of them received vaccinations. “I did a lot of research on the statistics on why people opt out of immunizations for their kids,” said Middleton. For Middleton, autism was the reason she opted out.
“Vaccines are not poison. I don’t believe that if you vaccinate your kids you’re poisoning your kids. I do believe that it does have an impact on your kids especially if you have a family history of autism,” said Middleton.
Middleton agrees with Davis that education is key before opting out. “I think that everyone who has the option should definitely educate themselves on the pros and cons of vaccines and if they choose to vaccinate their kids I think they shouldn’t get them all done, like four at a time,” said Middleton.