February 6, 2015

States Reconsider Vaccination Policies in Wake of Measles Outbreak

Legislators from at least four states are considering introducing legislation that would eliminate certain exemptions to measles vaccination requirements. 

According to NCSL, most states, including Connecticut, grant religious exemptions from vaccination requirements. Twenty states also allow for vaccination exemptions based on personal, moral, or other beliefs (Connecticut is not among those states.)

In California,  two state senators have announced they will introduce legislation to repeal a “personal belief exemption” that permits California parents to bow out of vaccinating their children.  A representative from Colorado – the state with the lowest measles vaccination rate – is similarly considering legislation that would make it more difficult for parents to “opt out” of the state’s vaccination mandate.  Lawmakers in Oregon and Washington State also want to remove exemptions based on parents' "personal beliefs.

On the federal level, a Florida congresswoman has indicated she may file legislation that would require all public school children to be vaccinated.  But the federal government has declined to create any new legislation mandating the vaccination of children.  Both President Obama and House Speaker Boehner have indicated that there is no need for a federal law requiring children to be vaccinated.