Oregon’s Non-Medical Vaccine Waiver Law Goes Into Effect Today

Oregon has the highest percentage of children entering school with non-medical waivers for at least one, and sometimes more, vaccination. State officials are hoping to change that statistic.

State legislature has introduced a new law, taking effect today, stating parents must consult with a medical professional before they qualify for a waiver to opt out of any vaccine before their child may start school. Similar laws have already been put into effect in California and Washington.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6.4 percent of kids starting kindergarten in the 2012-2013 school year in Oregon had a religious or philosophical waiver for vaccines. This means 3,010 additional unvaccinated kids entered the school system, along with any who could not be vaccinated for medical reasons.

While there are a variety of reasons parents may opt to not have their children vaccinated without medical reason (e.g. religious beliefs), a worrying one is the belief that vaccinations can cause autism. A study was published in 1998 that connected the MMR vaccine to the development of autism. The study was retracted in 2004, and the author of the study was stripped of his medical license for falsifying data.

Since then, doctors and scientists have not been able to find any link between the MMR vaccine and autism. However, an extremely vocal group of parents and celebrities like Jenny McCarthy still firmly state the MMR vaccine causes autism. This can influence parents when making the decision to vaccinate.

Kids who aren’t vaccinated when they start school are at risk for some of the most contagious and dangerous diseases. Measles is particularly contagious; the CDC states an unvaccinated person can get measles simply by entering a room a person with measles was in, even hours later.

A discussion of the benefits and risks of vaccines is what Oregon is asking of parents before they make a decision about vaccinations.

In accordance with the new law, any parent seeking a vaccination waiver can choose to receive science-based information about the benefits and possible side effects of vaccines from their family physician or watch a one-hour video on the same topic.

It is hoped that this new law will help bring down the number of unvaccinated children entering Oregon’s school system.


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Barbara D.
Past Member 3 years ago

Oh, boy, let's start a pool! When Will the First Epidemic Hit Oregon???

Veerle D.
Veerle D3 years ago

Great to read all these comments again. A lot more interesting in comparison with the article...

Jayasri Amma
Jayasri Amma3 years ago

Thank you!

Sarah Baldwin
Sarah Baldwin3 years ago

This seems like a mistake to me because the video and doctor may be pro-vacc and therefore may not present families with all of the risks associated with vaccines. If/when I have children I definitely would not vaccinate before the age of three, and even then I would be pretty picky about which vaccines are best. I don't think that anyone wants epidemics again, but there are real, and sometimes fatal risks with vaccines that should not be ignored. Adverse vaccine reactions are no joke. I should know because I've had three. I broke out after receiving the Varicella vaccine as a child, I had a moderately severe reaction to the Meningitis vaccine where I couldn't lift my arm for two days, and most recently I nearly fainted and experienced a sharp pain and some swelling after getting a Tb test. Parents have every right to decide if/when they are going to vaccinate, and truthfully we should all be more judicious about immunizations because I believe that vaccines are contributing to the prevalence of autoimmune diseases and allergies in children. Vaccines do not encourage the development of natural and lasting immunity.

Sian L.
Sian L4 years ago

How biased is the advice given by doctors in Oregon? Are they paid for giving shots, or having a certain compliance rate to vaccines like in other countries?

In my experience doctors in some countries are very open minded and balanced in their view but in others they do tend to be indoctrinated into one view of health and medicine. It is well known that research is often biased, and misleading/inaccurate research gets perpetuated. It has even been suggested that the sleep deprivation and overwhelming workload during medical training is deliberately so that medical students do not question and just follow doctrine presented to them.

JL A4 years ago

hopefully this law change will help protect children from the too numerous un-vaccinated children

Anne K.
Anne K4 years ago

Thank you!

Sue H.
Sue H4 years ago

Good on Oregon. Maybe there should be schools state wide that are for unvaccinated kids?

Tanya W.
Tanya W4 years ago

Vacinate please.

Jelena Radovanovic
Past Member 4 years ago

Thank you.