Society

Oregon Immunization Bill Only Needs Governor’s Signature To Become Law

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The last domino to fall before a bill that tightens the requirements for parents to opt out of vaccinations for their children becomes law is the signature of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. SB 132 was passed by the House by a 45-15 vote on Wednesday. Oregon had the highest rate of kindergarteners opting out of immunizations for nonmedical reasons in 2012.

Under the terms of the bill, parents must receive information about vaccines either from an online video or a doctor before they can opt out. Under the current law, parents can refuse immunization on religious grounds by simply signing a form.

The bill also contains a new “informed consent” requirement. The opt-out forms now must bear either the signature of a health professional verifying that a parent has received information about immunizations or a certificate that a parent has watched an educational video prepared by the state.

“This bill helps parents make an informed decision about whether they should have their child immunized or not,” said Rep. Mitch Greenlick.

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Some politicians believe that immunizations are needed because of public safety, The Statesman Journal reported.

After Rep. Vicki Berger’s second grandchild was born, she said “it was the longest 12 hours of my life” because his lungs failed to function.

“He catches every bug that comes along,” she said. “Parents have lots of rights, and I am a defender of those rights. But my grandson has a right to be safe in his public school, too.”

Sources: The Statesman Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle