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Sunday, May 21, 2023

Removing the MMR Personal Belief Exemption

 In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

Tyler P. Moore and colleagues have an article at The American Journal of Public Health titled "State Policy Removing the Personal Belief Exemption for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) School Immunization Requirement, Washington State, 2014–2022."

Objectives. To assess the impact of Washington State’s 2019 Engrossed House Bill (EHB) 1638—which removed measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) personal belief exemptions—on MMR vaccine series completion and exemption rates in K–12 students.

Methods. We used interrupted time-series analyses to examine changes in MMR vaccine series completion rates before and after EHB 1638 was passed and the χ2 test for differences in exemption rates.

Results. EHB 1638 implementation was associated with a 5.4% relative increase in kindergarten MMR vaccine series completion rates (95% confidence interval = 3.8%, 7.1%; P ≤ .001), and results were similar with Oregon as a control state (no change observed in Oregon; P = .68). MMR exemptions overall decreased 41% (from 3.1% in 2018–2019 to 1.8% in 2019–2020; P ≤ .001), and religious exemptions increased 367% (from 0.3% to 1.4%; P ≤ .001).

Conclusions. EHB 1638 was associated with an increase in MMR vaccine series completion rates and a decrease in any MMR exemption. However, effects were partially offset by an increase in religious exemption rates.

Public Health Implications. Removal of personal belief exemptions for the MMR immunization requirement only may be an effective approach to increase MMR vaccine coverage rates statewide and among underimmunized communities. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print May 18, 2023:e1–e10.