State Offers Print-Your-Own Vaccine Exemptions

FRIDAY, April 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- An education requirement for non-medical vaccine exemptions in Oregon does little to persuade parents from seeking such exemptions.

Of the more than 31,500 non-medical vaccine exemptions submitted last year, nearly 30,000 were from parents who viewed an online education video and then printed out a do-it-yourself form, Oregon Health Authority data show.

Another option -- talking to or getting a signature from a health care provider -- was selected by fewer than 2,000, Kaiser Health News reported.

Oregon has had an education requirement for non-medical vaccine exemptions since 2013, but it's "obviously letting too many people off the hook," said state Rep. Mitch Greenlick, a Democrat who has proposed a bill to eliminate non-medical vaccine exemptions.

In the 2017-18 school year, 7.6 percent of kindergartners were exempt from one or more vaccines, Kaiser reported.

So far this year, at least 387 cases of measles have been reported in 15 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly all cases have occurred in unvaccinated children, officials said.

Oregon is one of 17 states that permit vaccine exemptions based on religious or medical reasons. Only three states -- California, Mississippi and West Virginia -- ban all non-medical exemptions, Kaiser reported.

Research shows that making it more difficult to get a vaccine exemption reduces the rates of opt out.

"The ease of exemption is a big predictor," Dr. Saad Omer, a vaccine and infectious-disease expert at Emory University in Atlanta, told Kaiser.

One way to reduce vaccine exemptions is to require counseling by a health care provider.

Along with making it more difficult to get an exemption, parents get "the most trusted source" of information, Omer told Kaiser.

WebMD News from HealthDay
Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.