Oregon looks to increase vaccinations

Four-year-old Makenzi Privett receives a dose of a nasal spray vaccine from a registered nurse in this 2009 Associated Press file photo. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) – Oregon leads the nation in the percentage of kids entering kindergarten with non-medical waivers for vaccinations.

State health officials hope a law taking effect March 1 changes that.

Following the lead of Washington and California, Oregon is requiring parents to consult their family doctor or other health professional to qualify for a waiver of any of the vaccines against a dozen diseases required before entering school.

Oregon also offers an online alternative of watching a one-hour video.

Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Portland, is a family physician who sponsored the law. She says the idea is that once people hear the science, rather than the myths, they will be less likely to say no.

Since a similar law was enacted in Washington in 2011, the exemption rate has dropped 2.7%.

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