PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Fewer Oregon children in their first year of school are getting vaccinated, according to new data from the Oregon Health Authority.
This year, 7.5 percent of Oregon kindergarten-aged students turned in nonmedical exemption forms, meaning they did not receive at least one of the state’s required immunizations.
The rate was 6.5 percent last year, 6.2 in 2016 and 5.8 in 2015.
The Oregon Health Authority released the information Tuesday, but noted that the upshot is the vast majority of children in the state are immunized.
“Most parents and guardians know that immunization is still the best way to protect children against vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough and measles,” said Stacy de Assis Matthews, immunization school law coordinator at Oregon Health Authority.
Oregon requires students to be vaccinated against diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella and hepatitis.
Josephine County had the largest amount of students to opt out at 10 percent. Multnomah County, which includes Portland Public Schools, the biggest school district in the state, had 8 percent of students not vaccinated.