On July 28, 2019, Washington State removed the option to exempt children from receiving vaccinations for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).
The reason Wash. State Department of Health issued the law change, in their own words, is to “keep Washington healthy and safe from three serious diseases.” However, could this power be abused to impose new laws on state residents?
“Choosing not to immunize puts the child and others at risk of getting a dangerous disease that could be deadly. Immunization is the single most important way parents can protect their children against serious diseases” says the DOH.
According to the DOH, more than 90% of kindergartners already receive the MMR vaccinations. This begs the question, was the law change really necessary for the protection of students? If so, many are already receiving the proper vaccinations. In 2019 alone, there were a total of 86 measles cases in Wash. It never reached outbreak status, but there were enough cases to raise concern.
The new law change still does provide some exemptions. The two exemptions still in place are religious and medical exemptions. If an individual’s religious beliefs clash with receiving a vaccination they can get a religious membership exemption. A medical exemption, however, can only apply if a healthcare provider has determined a medical contradiction to an individual’s health upon receiving these vaccinations.
An individual can no longer be exempted by philosophical or personal beliefs. It is required now that in order to attend schools, records must be provided to prove an individual has received the required vaccinations.
The question remains, however, should the government be able to impose laws or law changes such as these that infringe on an individual’s rights. Should an individual be able to exempt themselves or their children from vaccinations due to their own personal, not religious, beliefs or in cases like these should the many outweigh the few? Sometimes it needs to be put into question how far they should be able to go, how far is too far. Many laws can feel warranted and necessary while others may seem unfair and unjust.
Washington has imposed a new requirement upon all its citizens, the question is, what comes next?
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost