Stacy de Assis Matthews>>In 2015 for the
first time in over a decade we are seeing a decrease in the amount of kindergartners
with a non-medical exemption to school immunization requirements. In 2014, the rate was 7 percent
and that dropped to 5.8 percent this year which represents a decrease of about 17 percent.
While we don’t collect data as to why parents are choosing a non-medical exemption versus
immunization, there was a major change in the law from 2014 to 2015 which changed the
process for parents wishing to claim a non-medical exemption for their child. The new process
requires parents to get a little bit of education about immunization benefits and risks prior
to claiming a non-medical exemption, and that education can come from one of two sources
from talking with a health care practitioner or from watching the online immunization education
module available on the public health divisions website. Oregon’s immunization law helps protect
kids against 11 different vaccine preventable diseases and helps make sure that kids can
go to school in a safe and healthy environment that’s free of vaccine-preventable diseases.
While in Oregon we’re seeing that the vast majority of parents are choosing to fully
immunize their children against vaccine-preventable diseases, and this helps protect not only
the individual child, but also Oregon schools and communities.