A new bill introduced in Oregon on Wednesday will keep children from attending school if they haven't been vaccinated.
The law creates an absolute barrier between the school population and non-immunized children. Students without medical records showing their shots are up to date will not be allowed back in school until they can provide that paperwork, according to Oregon Live. In certain cases, students will also be allowed to substitute certain forms, proving that they're exempt from the rule.
“Starting Feb. 21, children will not be able to attend class if they don’t have immunization or exemption paperwork submitted prior to that date,” said Jonathan Modie, a spokesperson for the Oregon Health Authority, in a report by POPSUGAR. “Records need to have been submitted to the school, by mail or in person, prior to the start of the school day on (Wednesday) Feb. 21. A parent or guardian may submit appropriate documentation/proof of immunization at any time on or after Exclusion Day and their child will immediately be allowed back in school.”
The new bill is a response to a 2013 study, which showed Oregon was the "most vaccine-skeptical state in the nation." The study measured the number of parents opting out of vaccines for religious reasons, or as part of the growing fear that the shots harm children in the long term.
That trendy fear carries on today. The Oregonian published an estimation that about 65% of public charter schools in the state don't have "herd immunity" against the measles. Herd immunity is the phenomenon where a majority of students are immune, preventing the disease or infection from gaining a foothold in the community.0comments
“If you drop a case of measles into one of those schools, it would spread like wildfire. So far, we’ve been lucky,” Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director of Oregon Public Health Division’s infectious disease and immunization programs, told Oregon Live.
This vaccine scare comes in the midst of one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory. Children and adults alike have been dying of influenza all year, as the strain takes hold incredibly fast and in some cases can even get around the shot.