Vaccine Skepticism Sees Soaring Numbers of Non-Immunized Kindergarten Children in Oregon

Vaccine skepticism following the pandemic is said to have resulted in soaring numbers of Oregon kindergarten children not immunized against common childhood illnesses such as mumps, measles, and whooping cough.

According to analysis by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the state is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of parents opting for non-medical exemptions to vaccines for their five-year-old kindergarten children.


Oregon Outstrips the National Average for Kindergarten Non-Immunizations by 2.8%

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oregon has 2.8% more than the national average of kindergarten students who have not received at least one of the required immunizations. This figure was recorded in the 2022-23 school year and represents the highest rate in 40 years.

Other ‘pockets’ of resistance to immunization for non-medical reasons have been recorded in private school communities and a cluster of public schools in southern Oregon. But most parents know that immunization is the solution to protect their children from preventable diseases, says immunization school law coordinator for the OHA, Stacy de Assis Matthews. She admits that exemptions mean fewer immunizations but says most Oregon parents still choose to have their children vaccinated.

Non-medical exemptions for Oregon kindergarten students are 8.2% compared to the national average of 2.8%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And Oregon has dipped 3% below the national threshold for herd immunity against measles, one of the most contagious diseases among young children.

The state’s immunization law ensures that children can attend school in a healthy and safe environment, free of preventable diseases. Immunization is an evidence-based best practice to decrease vaccine-preventable outbreaks, says the OHA.

There are 700,000 students in 3,500 private, public, and pre-schools in Oregon. Unless an exemption is granted, the state law requires that children be immunized against preventable diseases such as chickenpox, diphtheria, hepatitis, measles, mumps, polio, rubella (German measles), tetanus, and whooping cough. The number of vaccines to immunize against these diseases varies, depending on a child’s age and grade level.

Immunization school law coordinator, Stacy de Assis Matthews, says health care providers play an integral role in educating parents and guardians about the efficacy of immunization. She appeals to parents to talk to the health care providers at their children’s schools rather than relying on internet information. Matthews says everyone wants healthy children living in healthy communities. This can be achieved by immunization and health care providers play a crucial role in the prevention against communicable diseases campaign.



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  1. Nix says

    Oh, boo hoo. The general public found out what so-called anti-vaxxers, otherwise known as ex-vaxxers, have been saying for years… that vaccines cause injury and death in some cases, and if that happens to you, your doctor and the news media will gaslight you about it and say one has nothing to do with the other! Now state government wants to have another go at eliminating non-medical exemptions (I think this will be the fourth or fifth try) so the media is right on schedule to start pumping the fear!

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