Bills seek to boost immunizations by eliminating philosophical exemption

Two bills that would remove the philosophical exemption from the requirement that all children attending school and child care facilities receive immunizations have been introduced by Senator Kevin Mullin and Representative George Till, M.D.

According to the Times-Argus, S.199 and H.527 would “revoke the philosophical exemption, leaving parents with the choice of either administering the shots or finding alternative schooling options for their children. Both bills retain the religious and medical exemptions, which combined accounted for fewer than 50 opt-outs in 2010.”

The Times-Argus reported that in the year 2010 “more than 340 parents used the philosophical exemption to enroll their children in public school without the required shots.” In the same article, Christine Finley, immunization program chief for the Vermont Department of Health, suggested that parental choice is the likeliest cause for the Vermont kindergartener vaccination rate to drop from 93 percent in 2006 to 83 percent today.

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