Arizona lawmakers just made it easier for parents to not vaccinate their kids, while measles outbreaks spread across the country.
Arizona lawmakers approved all three bills making it easier for parents to opt out of vaccinating their children. Republican members of the House Health and Human Services Committee largely voted to support the bill while Democrats opposed. The move comes during an ongoing measles outbreak in Washington.
Health officials are concerned the new bills will make Arizona vulnerable to a similar public health emergency.
“These bills, if passed, will undermine our efforts to keep Arizona’s children safe and healthy because they would lower the vaccination rates in our communities and increase the risk of community-wide outbreaks,” Dr. Elizabeth McKenna explained.
In January, Washington governor Jay Inslee declared a public health emergency in Washington. As of February 25, there have been 65 confirmed cases of measles in Washington, 57 of which were not vaccinated.
Measles is a highly contagious disease spread through direct contact with an infected person. It is highly preventable with proper vaccination—two doses of the measles vaccine has a 97% success rate. After widespread use of that highly effective vaccine, the United States declared the disease eliminated in 2000.