Maine House votes to end non-medical exemptions for childhood vaccines

A bill that could end non-medical exemptions for routine childhood vaccines required by schools and certain health care facilities, got one step closer to a reality Tuesday.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill that could end non-medical exemptions for routine childhood vaccines required by schools and certain health care facilities, got one step closer to a reality Tuesday.

The Maine House passed the vaccination bill by 78-59 Tuesday, April 23.

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Jackie Mundry

@j_mundry

The legislature has voted 78-59 to PASS the vaccination bill

The Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee held a work session and heard from the public earlier in March. 

RELATED: Hundreds of Mainers descend upon the State House to testify about vaccine bill

Multiple studies have debunked claims that measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations increase the risk for autism. Maine has one of the nation’s highest rates of pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

But opponents argue that Maine parents should remain able to opt-out on religious or philosophical grounds. Meanwhile, a Republican’s bill would leave medical exemptions at the “sole discretion” of anyone authorized to administer vaccines.

RELATED: Pertussis is widespread in Maine

Federal data shows Maine had among the highest rates of non-medical vaccine exemptions in 2017-2018.Oregon and Washington are also considering bills to end non-medical exemptions for childhood vaccines.

LD 798 Vaccine public hearing bill