Parents protest Ore. vaccine bill as measles outbreak grows

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Hundreds of people protested a contentious vaccine bill that would make it harder for Oregon parents to opt out of school vaccination requirements.

Parents spoke out against the proposal at a rally outside the state Capitol on Thursday. The measure would only allow students to opt out of vaccines if they have a doctor’s note seeking an exemption for medical reasons.

The move comes as more than 70 people have been sickened with measles in an outbreak in southwest Washington. Health officials confirm that four people in Oregon have been sickened as part of the outbreak.

But parents say mandating vaccinations takes away personal and religious freedoms. They add that there isn’t enough data on vaccine risks.

Health officials counter that vaccines are safe and effective, and the best way to prevent sickness.