Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington has signed a new law that reduces the ways parents can obtain an exemption for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination. The state has seen an increase in measles amid increasing scrutiny of vaccines in some communities.
The Democratic governor, who is also running for the 2020 presidential nomination, finalized the measure in a ceremony at the City Hall in Vancouver. It’s mandates go into effect in July.
“We should be listening to science and medicine, not social media,” Inslee said. “It is science and truth that will keep us healthy rather than fear.”
While he acknowledged that the regulation won’t accomplish “everything necessary” to keep vulnerable populations safe, he sold it as a step in the right direction.
Washington had been among the minority of U.S. states to offer exemptions on personal or philosophical grounds. Those options will no longer be available under the new law.
The state Senate wanted to expand the new regulation to all routine childhood vaccines. Upon debate, the legislature agreed to limit the scope to the MMR immunization.
Without a recognized exemption, kids entering childcare or school will need to prove they were vaccinated against diseases including whooping cough, polio and several others aside from measles.