In the debate between public health and personal choice, the Vermont House came down on the side of science and voted to repeal an earlier bill that allowed parents to avoid vaccinating their children based on philosophical beliefs meaning a parent could opt out of having their kids vaccinated for any or no reason at all. The State Senate had already approved such a bill. The two legislative bodies disagreed about when such exemptions should cease, with the Senate wanting to end them as of July 2015 and the House postponing them for another year.
According to the CDC, only about 75 percent of young Vermont children received the full vaccine series in 2013 probably not enough to provide herd immunity. Thus any children with immunity issues would be put at an unnecessary risk of vaccine-preventable diseases if this situation were to continue.
This move by the Vermont House may have been in response to the recent outbreak of measles in California one which has provoked the California legislature to consider a similar ban on religious and personal belief exemptions. About 20 states now have such vaccination exemptions and as we have written before, all of them are needlessly putting their young residents at risk.
ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava commented: We certainly applaud this action by the Vermont legislature. There is absolutely no reason to allow one group of misguided parents to put other parents children at risk. As we have said repeatedly, vaccines are a public health miracle, reducing or eliminating the toll of death and disability from a wide variety of illnesses from polio to tetanus and diphtheria. Hopefully, the other states with these philosophical exemptions will come to their senses and follow Vermont s lead.