Parents in Washington state will no longer be able to claim a personal or philosophical exemption for their children from receiving the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine before attending a day care center or school under a measure signed Friday by Gov. Jay Inslee.
The state saw more than 70 cases of measles this year, and Inslee signed the bill at Vancouver City Hall, in the county where most of those cases were centered. The new law takes effect at the end of July.
Inslee said that while the bill was an important step in public health, he warned it doesn’t do “everything necessary to protect the health of our most vulnerable citizens.”
“We should be listening to science and medicine, not social media,” he said. “It is science and truth that will keep us healthy rather than fear.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that as of the end of last week, 764 cases of measles have been confirmed in 23 states.
Washington is among 17 states that allow some type of non-medical vaccine exemption for personal or philosophical beliefs. In addition, medical and religious exemptions exist for attendance at the state’s public or private schools or licensed day-care centers. Medical and religious exemptions remain in place under the measure passed by the Legislature last month.
Unless an exemption is claimed, children are required to be vaccinated against or show proof of acquired immunity for nearly a dozen diseases — including polio, whooping cough and measles — before they can attend school or go to child care centers.