State lawmaker seeks to limit vaccination exemptions

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Maine Democratic lawmaker and other health officials are seeking to introduce a bill that would eliminate the state's non-medical exemption for vaccinations.

State Rep. Ralph Tucker says the non-medical exemption has a risk of impacting "herd immunity," where a high rate of vaccinations prevents the spread of disease to persons who are not vaccinated. The Bangor Daily News reports 5 percent of Maine parents of children in public and private schools decided against immunization last year.

Tucker says he isn't sure if his bill would affect both private schools and public schools, but current state immunization requirements apply to both types of schools.

Maine, with its relatively high vaccine opt-out numbers, also has one of the nation's highest rates of pertussis — better known as whooping cough.

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Information from: Bangor Daily News, http://www.bangordailynews.com


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