The Washington state Senate narrowly passed a measure late Wednesday that would make it harder for parents to opt out of vaccinating their children against measles in response to the state’s worst outbreak in more than two decades.
The bill, which would eliminate personal or philosophical exemptions from the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, is a victory for public health advocates who had not expected it to make it to the floor.
The measure passed 25 to 22 in the Democratic-controlled chamber, after being brought to the floor just minutes before the legislative deadline. No Republicans voted in favor, and two Democrats voted against.
The bill is expected to pass the House, where a nearly identical measure was approved last month, and be signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee (D). It would be the first time in four years a state has removed personal exemptions in the face of growing anti-vaccine sentiment. California and Vermont removed personal exemptions in 2015. Other states have tightened vaccination requirements but have not removed exemptions.
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