Washington state House committee passes bill to ban personal, philosophical vaccine exemptions

A Washington state House committee on February 15 passed a bill to ban the personal or philosophical exemption for the vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) for school-age children amid an outbreak of the highly infectious virus.

A Washington state House committee on February 15 passed a bill to ban the personal or philosophical exemption for the vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) for school-age children amid an outbreak of the highly infectious virus. The measure passed through the state's Health Care and Wellness Committee, despite opposition from critics who say parents should have a right to choose whether to vaccinate their children. The legislation will now move to the House Rules Committee before it is sent to the full chamber for a vote. A bill proposed in the state Senate would ban personal or philosophical exemptions for all school-required vaccines, not just MMR. Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency in Washington following a measles outbreak. There have been 53 confirmed cases of measles as of February 14, according to health officials in Clark County, where a vast majority of this year's measles cases have been located. Of the 53 confirmed cases, 47 people were not immunized against the illness and one had the MMR vaccine. The immunization status of five people has not yet been confirmed. An estimated 6.7% of students in Clark County were exempt from compulsory vaccines upon entering kindergarten by claiming personal or religious reasons in the 2017–18 school year, according to state data.