At The Statesman Journal, Saerom Yoo writes:
Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, a family physician who led the charge for strengthening Oregon's school immunization law, will no longer pursue the legislation, a staffer said today.
Senate Bill 442, which has had one public hearing and attracted national attention, would have eliminated religious and philosophical exemptions from school shots. Only medical exemptions would have been allowed.
Oregon's nonmedical exemption rate for kindergartners is the nation's highest, at 7 percent. It's a number that has been steadily rising since 2000.
"After much careful consideration, Sen. Steiner Hayward has decided to no longer pursue this legislation," the Beaverton Democrat's chief of staff, Paige Spence, wrote in an email. "She is disappointed that the conversations have largely revolved around who is right or wrong about science and the benefits vs. risk of vaccines, rather than about the health and well-being of Oregon's children."
Portland pediatrician and Children's Health Alliance's medical director Dr. Jay Rosenbloom said while he was disappointed by how the debate around the legislation unfolded in Oregon, it wasn't atypical.
The vocal minority is loud and organized, while the majority tends to stay silent, he said. Legislators should remain focused on public health and vote based on sound science, he said.
"Mississippi and West Virginia have proved to us that legislation like this can work," Rosenbloom said. Mississippi and West Virginia are the only two states that don't allow nonmedical exemptions, and Mississippi has the country's highest vaccination rate, at near 100 percent. "This wasn't groundbreaking legislation. The problem lies in convincing legislators of what the science says about the safety of vaccines, rather than having this be a debate amongst constituents.
"Scientific facts are not established based on a popular vote. This is not an opinion vote."
Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, on Friday published a newsletter saying he believed vaccines are linked to autism and accusing the CDC of mismanagement and corruption, both of which are points made in the documentary Kennedy showed to lawmakers last week.