Law leads to fewer vaccine opt outs

The vaccine exemption rate decreased 17 percent from last year.

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The Oregon Public Health Division announced vaccine exemption rates for nonmedical reasons decreased 17 percent from last year.

Officials credited a 2013 law that altered the process of claiming an exemption, the Portland Tribune reported.

Parents or guardians choosing a nonmedical exemption are required to submit a document showing either a signature from a health care practitioner verifying discussion of the benefits and risks of immunization, or a certificate of completion of an interactive online educational video about the benefits and risks of immunization. A similar law in Washington led to a 25 percent decline in nonmedical exemptions. In California, exemptions dropped 19 percent.

“What Oregon’s new data tell me is that parents and guardians are making truly informed decisions about vaccinations,” said Stacy de Assis Matthews, school law coordinator with the Oregon Immunization Program. “I believe that the education provided through health care providers and the online module helped many parents realize that the benefits of immunizations far outweighed any risks.”

 Individual school rates will be available to the public in June, according to the Portland Business Journal.