Washington immunization bill advances, faces pushback

Amy Applebury of Castle Rock says she doesn't want the government telling her what she has must do with her children, like getting them vaccinated against the measles. (KATU Photo)

The measles outbreak has people demanding more policies for immunization.

Parents in Oregon will have to keep their kids home unless they get them vaccinated or file an exemption by Feb. 20.

In Washington, the pressure in on the schools to change immunization policies, but they can't until the state does. Lawmakers are pushing a bill to make it even harder for parents get an exemption.

House Bill 1628 will eliminate exemptions based on philosophical or personal objections.

Amy Applebury of Castle Rock sees both sides of the issue. Her oldest daughter is fully vaccinated, but her youngest son and daughter won't be.

"I just can't risk it. My kids will no longer be getting anything else," she said.

She worries the government is overstepping.

"I don't want to be told by the government, by our state, that I have to do something for my kids. I'm the parent. I have the right to dictate what goes on in my child's life," said Applebury.

She says it should be a case-by-case scenario.

Applebury was worried when her oldest began to get rashes after her MMR shot. Now, she believes the vaccine is more harmful than effective.

"I don't live my life scared but I'm also, I understand it's out there. I don't think it's going to kill myself or my children, whether you've been vaccinated or not," she said.

Dr. Scott Lindquist, the state of Washington's epidemiologist, says allergic reactions to vaccines can happen, but they're rare.

"Five percent get a rash, 15 percent can get a fever, and 1 in a million can get an allergic reaction to it," said Lindquist.

Since the measles outbreak last month, the state Department of Health is reporting the number of vaccines administered has quadrupled compared to the average amount in the last four years.

To this day, it has no record of anyone dying from getting immunized.

"I've never seen a complication with an MMR. I have seen about 12 kids die of these diseases we vaccinated against," said Lindquist.

House Bill 1638 moved out of committee Friday and will be heading to the floor for a vote.

Amy Applebury says the government shouldn't take away her choice:


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