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Oregon's School Vaccine Exemption Rate Drops

For the first time in 10 years, more Oregon kindergarteners have been getting vaccinated against diseases including measles and whooping cough.

Parents in Oregon can seek an exemption to the state's school immunization requirements for medical, religious, philosophical reasons.

Stacy de Assis Matthews is with Oregon's Immunization Program. She says the rate for vaccine exemptions other than medical has dropped 17 percent to 5-point-8 percent among kindergarteners.

Matthews: "Not only did we see a decrease in the exemption rate but for every single one of the required vaccines, we saw an increase in the immunization rate. It wasn’t just for measles because of measles news. But we also saw increases in the immunization rate for pertussis and for polio and for hepatitis A and B and the other vaccines as well."

A measles outbreak sickened more than 100 people, including a Eugene resident, who visited Disneyland in December. State lawmakers considered eliminating the philosophical exemption for vaccines, but that bill seems to have died.  Lane and Deschutes Counties have seen an increase in cases of pertussis, or Whooping cough this spring.  


Oregon Immunization Program

Copyright 2015 KLCC

Rachael McDonald is News Director at KLCC. She’s been with the station for more than 10 years. Previously, she established the Richland, Washington bureau for the Northwest News Network. She also worked as News Director at KAZU in Monterey, California. Rachael has won numerous awards for her reporting.