Washington state Senate votes to eliminate some vaccine exemptions amid measles outbreak

Washington’s state Senate voted Thursday to eliminate some vaccine exemptions amid a measles outbreak hitting the state.

The bill to eliminate personal or philosophical exemptions from the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine passed by a 25-22 vote in the Democratic-controlled chamber on the legislative deadline, the Washington Post reported.

No Republicans voted for the measure, and two Democrats voted against it.

The bill will now have to be approved by the House, which passed a similar measure last month, before heading to Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeInslee calls on DNC to hold debate focused on climate change Several 2020 Dems say they’re ready to face Fox News town hall Inslee: Schultz ‘almost totally’ AWOL from policy in Washington state MORE‘s (D) desk for final approval.

California and Vermont voted to remove personal exemptions in 2015.

Religious and medical exemptions will still be allowed for all vaccinations, including MMR.

The bill’s passage through the Senate comes as the state faces a measles outbreak.

There have been 74 confirmed measles cases in Washington and, as of last week, the current outbreak has sickened 555 people across 20 states. 

Maine’s legislature is awaiting floor votes in both chambers for a bill that would eliminate all nonmedical exemptions for MMR. A similar proposal is advancing in Oregon, despite strong anti-vaccine sentiments in parts of the state.

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