A measles outbreak last year started in Disneyland and spread across the country, affecting those with vaccination exemptions in Pennsylvania, spurring lawmakers there to review the state’s vaccination exemptions.
The Disneyland outbreak occurred in December, and by late January, the illness showed up in central Pennsylvania, Penn Live reported.
Currently, Pennsylvania code
provides two exemptions to vaccination requirements: medical and religious, although what many states deem as separate philosophical reasons are included under Pennsylvania’s religious exemption.
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If a physician provides a written statement that administering a vaccination could be dangerous to the health of a child, the student may be exempt. If immunization becomes no longer detrimental, however, the child must be vaccinated.
A parent, guardian, or emancipated child may object to receiving vaccinations in writing based on religious grounds or “strong moral or ethical conviction similar to a religious belief.”
Proposed legislation would eliminate the philosophical reasoning, The Allentown Morning Call reported
“I'm offended that people think it's a good idea to not vaccinate children,” co-sponsor of the bill Rep. Mike Schlossberg told the newspaper. “A few things have been scientifically proven: Gravity exists and vaccines save lives.”
Pennsylvania is one of 18 states with philosophical exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures
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This excuse is the most popular, garnering nearly 3,400 students, which is more than the population that uses the religious exemption, even though Pennsylvania is well-known for its Amish residency, The Morning Call reported.
Kindergarten vaccination rates are about 87 percent, officials told Penn Live. This makes it one of the worst in the nation.
Total immunization in Pennsylvania is 87 percent, The Morning Call reported. Medical professionals recommend a rate of 95 percent to create herd immunity in which a sizable enough group of people are immune to protect everyone.
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