By RACHEL LA CORTE, Associated Press
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Personal or philosophical opposition to vaccines would not be an authorized exemption for the parents of school-age children under a measure that received a public hearing before a House committee on Tuesday, drawing at least two dozen opponents to the proposed change.
Rep. June Robinson, a Democrat from Everett and member of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee that heard her bill, said she introduced the bill in response to the current measles outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people across the U.S., including in Washington state, and in Mexico. No deaths have been reported.
“These are diseases that were eradicated and now are coming back largely due to the fact that many people are choosing to not immunize their children,” Robinson said at the start of the hearing. “I am introducing this bill to protect the health and safety of our kids and our communities.”
Currently, Washington allows school-vaccination exemptions for children at public or private schools or licensed day care centers based on medical, religious and personal or philosophical beliefs. House Bill 2009 removes the personal or philosophical belief allowance for an exemption. The measure has the support of the Washington State Medical Association and Gov. Jay Inslee.