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Report: Fewer Kindergarten-Age Kids Getting Vaccinated In Oregon

Oregon Health Authority says Oregon kindergarten vaccine exemption rate increased sharply.

Posted: May. 29, 2018 12:47 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Fewer children are being immunized in Oregon, according to a new report from the Oregon Health Authority. 

On Tuesday, the OHA reported on a new state analysis that shows a sharp rise in the number of Oregon parents choosing nonmedical exemptions to vaccines for their kindergarten-age children. 

In 2015, the first year after a new law went into effect requiring parents to get vaccine exemptions, Oregon’s kindergarten nonmedical exemption rate fell from 7 percent to 5.8 percent, according to Oregon Health Authority data. However, since that initial decrease, the rates have gone up each year, to 6.2 percent in 2016, 6.5 percent in 2017 and 7.5 percent in 2018.

Nonmedical exemption rates in Oregon counties in 2018 for students in grades K-12 ranged from 1 percent in Morrow County to 10 percent in Josephine County. The OHA has a data map that shows each school's vaccination rate: http://www.healthoregon.org/immdatamap.

One example from the map shows all of Ashland's schools almost entirely in the red - labeled "Most Vulnerable" - which means less than 80.0% of students are fully vaccinated, according to OHA data. 

State law requires that children be immunized against diseases including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella and hepatitis. The number of required vaccinations can vary depending on the child’s age or grade level and type of facility. Exemptions are also available. The full schedule is available on OHA's Required Immunizations webpage at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/PREVENTIONWELLNESS/VACCINESIMMUNIZATION/GETTINGIMMUNIZED/Pages/SchRequiredImm.aspx.

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