Maine bill seeks to boost immunizations

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AUGUSTA (AP) — A state lawmaker has proposed a bill that would make it more difficult for Maine parents to opt out of immunizing their children.

The Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/1BgjGAD) reported that Maine’s opt-out rate for children entering kindergarten has climbed recently to 5.2 percent in the 2013-14 school year, the fifth-highest in the nation.

Democratic Rep. Richard Farnsworth, of Portland, says many parents opt out based on mostly unfounded fears that immunizations can be harmful.

To gain a philosophic exemption, Maine parents need only sign a form.

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Farnsworth’s measure would require parents who wish to opt out for philosophic reasons to first consult a primary care professional, such as a doctor or nurse practitioner. After the discussion, if the parents still don’t want their children vaccinated, they would need a medical professional’s signature.

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