POLITICS

Mandatory Vaccine Bills Fail In 2 States

MIAMI, FL - MAY 16:  A bottle of measles vaccination is seen at Miami Children's Hospital on May 16, 2014 in Miami, Florida.
MIAMI, FL - MAY 16: A bottle of measles vaccination is seen at Miami Children's Hospital on May 16, 2014 in Miami, Florida. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that cases of measles in the first four months of this year are the most any year since 1996, as they warned clinicians, parents and others to watch for the potentially deadly virus. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Legislation in Oregon and Washington state that would have made it harder for parents to opt out of vaccinating their children failed last week in the wake of the recent measles outbreak that began in nearby California.

The Washington bill, which would have outlawed parents from citing personal or philosophical beliefs to exempt their children from vaccine requirements, failed in the state House on Thursday after its author missed a key deadline, according to the Sacramento Bee.

A similar bill in Oregon, which also would have banned parents from using religion as an exemption, died Wednesday after its author, state Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D), said she didn't have enough votes.

Steiner Hayward expressed frustration that vaccine effectiveness continues a subject of intense debate.

"She is disappointed that the conversations have largely revolved around who is right or wrong about science and the benefits vs. risk of vaccines, rather than about the health and well-being of Oregon’s children," said a statement from Steiner Hayward's office emailed to Seattle radio station KPLU.

A similar bill remains afloat in California, one of 19 states that allow personal belief exemptions.

Polling suggests that Americans are largely in favor of making it harder to opt out of vaccines. According to an online survey conducted by Reuters/Ipsos last month, 78 percent of respondents said that all children should be vaccinated "unless there is a direct health risk to them from vaccination."

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