Narrowed Vaccine Exemptions Outrage Anti-Vaxxers in Washington

Washington is one of 17 states that allow parents to decline vaccinating their children on “personal” or “philosophical” grounds. But at least when it comes to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, that’s now in the past.

Gov. Jay Inslee recently signed the new law, requiring all children in Washington state to be vaccinated for MMR before they can attend daycare or school (with one catch that we’ll get to in a minute).

The legislature had previously considered an even broader bill, which would have eliminated the personal or philosophical exemptions for all required vaccines. But ultimately, lawmakers decided to focus on the MMR vaccine, as the state is in the middle of a measles outbreak that triggered a public health crisis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 839 documented cases of measles so far this year in the U.S., confirmed across 23 states from Jan. 1 to May 10. This was a disease declared dormant in the U.S. until certain parents decided they didn’t feel like protecting their children.

The Associated Press reports many of these anti-vaxxer parents are outraged over the new Washington law, and they aren’t done fighting yet. They attended the signing with their children — demanding the right to threaten public health and expose people to deadly pathogens if they want to.

“We’re just asking for the parental right to choose whether or not our children are vaccinated,” parent Kari Palomo told the AP. “We’re not here to take away anybody else’s right, whether they choose to vaccinate or not.”

“I’ve done my homework,” said parent Carolyn Stirling, who opposes the vaccine because she believes certain components of it will attack and destroy her child’s brain cells. “I know what I’m talking about and I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

Stirling promised that she and other parents would just switch over to the religious exemption in the law — a potential loophole that would ensure this public health crisis continues.

Christie Nadzieja turned her back to the governor as he signed the law, telling the AP she was for “medical freedom and vaccine choice.”

Unfortunately, all of these parents seem to be willfully oblivious that their choice does not exclusively impact their children.

The choice not to get a vaccine puts all of society at risk, as the recent measles outbreak shows. There are some people who medically cannot get vaccines. Some are immunocompromised and remain at risk despite a vaccine. And some are too young or haven’t yet had their full course of vaccines. These people rely on a cushion of protection, with everyone around them being vaccinated to greatly reduce the number of pathogens they contact.

But these parents don’t care about that. And they’ve made clear this law won’t stop them from putting more people in danger.

TAKE ACTION!

Demand that Washington state take the next step and ban religious exemptions for all vaccines. Parents who were using the “personal” and “philosophical” excuses not to vaccinate their children still can make the religious exemption a loophole to keep putting public health at risk. Sign this Care2 petition demanding that Washington remove the religious exemption for vaccines today!

If you want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling, you too can create a Care2 petition and use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2′s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.

 

Photo credit: Kameleon007/Getty Images

51 comments

Clare O'Beara
Clare O3 days ago

good work

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O3 days ago

th

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Tanya W
Tanya W4 days ago

Polio is a great example of vaccines doing great for humanity!

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Tanya W
Tanya W4 days ago

I do believe that you will never change the minds of the antivaxers.

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Tanya W
Tanya W4 days ago

I just had my whooping cough vaccine for the 3rd time in my lifetime to prevent babies in the community being infected. Whooping cough has made a resurgence due to grandparents and aunty's/uncles, older people infecting new babies because it's been many decades since their initial vaccination. Get the whooping cough vaccine every 5 years to protect the very young and vulnerable.

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Tanya W
Tanya W4 days ago

If everyone got themselves and their children vaccinated these awful diseases would be wiped out!!! There is no evidence that these vaccines do damage - they are killed viruses.

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn5 days ago

Signed

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Danuta W
Danuta Watola5 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O5 days ago

I had these illnesses as a child, i don't recommend them.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O5 days ago

Stop allowing anyone into the country unless they have had the full course of vaccinations perhaps. This could be done before flight or at the airports.

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