The Oregon Health Authority says the rate of non-medical vaccine exemptions for kindergarteners has increased sharply this year.
Oregon parents can request exemptions from school vaccine requirements for any reason.
The number of kindergarteners getting such exemptions dropped from 7%to 5.8% in 2015 after a change in state law requiring more steps to get it. But this year the rate is back at 7%.
Stacy de Assis Matthews is School Immunization Coordinator at the Oregon Health Authority. She says the vast majority of Oregon children are fully immunized. But in schools where there are a large number of non-vaccinated students, it’s possible for diseases like measles and whooping cough to become outbreaks.
“We’re especially worried that a case of a vaccine-preventable disease could affect somebody who is medically unable to be immunized or children, infants, who are too young to be fully protected by their vaccines yet.”
Matthews urges parents and guardians to consult with health care providers about vaccinations.