Oregon vaccination bills move forward

Two vaccination-related bills moved forward in the Oregon Legislature this week. One bill, HB 3063, is one of the most controversial and contentious bills of the session. The other bill, HB 2220, has received near-unanimous support on its path through both chambers.

HB 3063 would remove personal, philosophical, and religious vaccine exemptions for school-aged children in public and private school. Children not immunized would still be allowed to continue attending school up until August 1, 2020. The bill is one of several vaccine-related bills moving through state legislatures in response to measles outbreaks across the country.

 

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The bill passed out of the House on a 35-25 vote earlier this week, with five Democrats joining the majority of Republican Representatives who voted against the measure. Two Republicans voted in support.

Not only is the House split on the issue, but Oregonians are as well. Several hundred opponents went to the capitol during session to protest the bill, and over 3,000 pieces of testimony have been submitted for and against the legislation.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The other vaccine bill, HB 2220, has received bipartisan support. The bill allows dentists to administer vaccines, such as the flu vaccine or HPV vaccines, to their patients. The bill is the first of its kind in the nation, according to the Oregonian/Oregon Live.

The bill passed in the House unanimously at the end of March and passed in the Senate on a 26-3 vote. Gov. Kate Brown signed the bill into law on Monday.

One of the bill’s chief sponsors, Rep. Cedric Hayden, who is a licensed dentist himself, discussed the vaccine bill in this Q&A earlier in session.

“I believe in access, education, and, you know, a compassionate approach… To me, the argument of vaccination, is sometimes it’s about access. Dentists are certainly qualified to provide that technical procedure… they’re geared toward that type of educational, compassionate conversation, and I think we can help,” Hayden said.

The bill declares an emergency and took effect immediately upon being signed.