More than 100 Oregonians rally against vaccination bill

Anti-vaxxers gather at Capitol steps to protest bill that would prohibit non-medical exemptions.

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More than 100 anti-vaxxers gathered at the Oregon State Capitol steps Monday to protest a bill that would prohibit non-medical exemptions.

The crowd argued in favor of “medical freedom” to express their displeasure with Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward’s (D-Beaverton) bill, the Statesman Journal reports.

SB 442 was proposed in response to Oregon’s high rates of kindergarteners with non-medical exemptions from at least one vaccine.

The crowd stood in concentric circles around a podium, and people took turns giving speeches, reciting poems and short quotes. Enthusiastic participants cheered and applauded as opponents of SB 442 spoke on medical freedoms, individualized medicine and vaccine safety. While public health and medical bodies have long endorsed the safety and efficacy of vaccines, some people remain skeptical.

Yoo also wrote a story explaining school immunization rates.

From the Statesman Journal:

First of all, it does not mean that 7 percent of Oregon’s kindergarteners are not vaccinated. It does mean, however, that they have been opted out from at least one vaccine. Many parents who have nonmedical exemptions from school shots are selective about vaccines. They don’t commonly reject all vaccines. However, the rate of people using nonmedical exemptions has risen every year since 2000. And that is concerning to public health officials.

“Certainly, we are concerned that we’ve seen an increase in the nonmedical exemption rates over time,” [Oregon Health Authority’s school law coordinator Stacy] de Assis Matthews said. “And certainly we want to make sure parents have good, credible public health information so that they can make a good decision about immunizing their child.”