Hundreds rally against vaccinations amid measles outbreak

Olympia, Wash. — With more than 50 cases of measles in Washington state, there’s been a new push to change the law. Washington is one of 17 states that allow parents to refuse vaccines for philosophical reasons.

But on Friday, hundreds rallied to preserve their right not to vaccinate their children. Lawmakers heard arguments on a proposed bill that would ban the measles vaccine exemption for philosophical reasons. Thirty-two other states have similar laws.

Measles is so contagious that an unvaccinated person has a 90 percent chance of catching the disease if they’re near someone who has it. The virus can survive for up to two hours in a room where an infected person sneezed.

Measles vaccination rates here, at the epicenter of the outbreak, are now up by 500 percent.

“I think we’re seeing people rush to the doctor now because it’s real and it’s been growing every week. And so folks actually see a real threat,” said Washington Secretary of Health John Wiesman.

But opponents of the bill still think the measles vaccine is a bigger threat than the disease itself.

“I don’t feel I’m putting my child at risk. There’s nothing that’s going to change my mind on this on that specific vaccination,” said mother Monique Murray.

The CDC insists the two-dose measles vaccine is safe and 97 percent effective. Washington lawmakers hope to get the measure passed by April.

Northwest outbreak fuels debate over refusing vaccinations

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