Pennsylvania bill would end religious, philosophical exemptions from vaccines

Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania senator is taking aim at the exemptions parents can receive from immunizing their children.

State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) has introduced legislation to eliminate the religious exemption and the philosophical exemption in the state’s immunization law, which requires children to receive certain vaccinations before they attend school.

Under Leach’s bill, the only exemption from vaccinations would be for medical reasons, a pre-existing health problem that conflicts with the immunization requirements.

“The law requires us all to get vaccinated to attend school because that’s the only way we can protect the health of students who are medically unable to get a vaccination,” Leach said in a statement Thursday. “Vaccines are safe. The recent outbreak of mumps and measles reminds us that vaccines are absolutely essential to public health.”

New Jersey, New York, and Washington all have had recent outbreaks of measles, while confirmed and probable cases of mumps at Temple University has reached 106.

“We have an obligation to respect the scientific consensus and act rationally,” Leach said. “All of the science says that vaccines save many lives and stop the spread of easily-preventable but deadly diseases.”

“Some claim that vaccines cause autism, but according to all research and most doctors and scientists, that’s simply not true,” Leach added. “Vaccines prevent disease. The risks are far greater for your child when you choose not to vaccinate, and not vaccinating puts others at risk, too.”

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