The outbreak is concentrated in Clark County, where objections relating to non-medical vaccines account for more than triple the national rate.
OLYMPIA – A committee of the US House of Representatives on Friday passed a bill to ban the personal or philosophical exemption of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine from schoolchildren among epidemics of measles in Clark County.
Bill 1638 passed by the Health and Welfare Committee was put to a majority vote in spite of fierce opposition from critics who say that injections can cause greater harm than the benefits associated with prevention of certain preventable diseases.
The nine Democrats voted in favor, while the bill's main sponsor – representative Paul Harris of Vancouver, Clark County – was the only Republican committee member to support him.
Representative Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, the most Republican on the committee, said that while all children should be vaccinated, parents should also retain the right to choose.
The measure was the subject of a busy public hearing last Friday, which included testimony against the proposal of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and others who question the safety of vaccines.
The bill is now being moved to the Rules Committee, where Harris, who sits on the committee, expects that it will be passed quickly and will receive a vote from the entire House of Commons. bedroom.
"I believe we can do something to keep our communities safe," said Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, who helped pay for the bill with Harris.
The measles outbreak in Washington, which spawned a statement of urgency from Governor Jay Inslee, appears to have slowed, with 54 cases confirmed Thursday afternoon, according to the US Department of Health. Health of the state. According to the Clark County Public Health Department, there has been only one new case of viral illness in the past seven days, while another person previously considered to be suffering from measles had a mild skin rash. vaccine. This case was therefore removed from the total. There are two other suspected cases in southwestern Washington County.
While the non-medical exemption rate for kindergarten enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year was about 2% across the country, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington applied a 4% exemption rate for philosophical, personal, or religious reasons. In comparison, Clark County, where the vast majority of measles cases this year, had an exemption rate of 6.7%, according to data from state health services.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Washington is one of 17 states to allow a philosophical exemption from the vaccine.
Harris said last week that he also hoped to tighten the exemption for those wishing to opt out due to their religion, while a bill proposed by the state senate , scheduled for a public hearing Wednesday at the Senate Committee on Health and Long-Term Care, would ban personal or philosophical exemption for all vaccines required for the school, not just the MMR vaccine.