Sep 20, 2019 - Health

Anti-vax movement targets Maine law on vaccine exemptions

In this image, a syringe is place don top of a sheet of paper.

The "Tdap" vaccine at the Nasson Health Care clinic in Springvale, Maine in 2018. Photo: Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Maine is close to adding a ballot question to ask voters "to overturn a state law eliminating nonmedical vaccine exemptions for school children," due to efforts from members of the anti-vaccination movement, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: "Maine is one of a handful of states that have passed laws to limit exemptions to vaccinations developed to stop the spread of infectious diseases like measles, which immunization can keep at bay," per the WSJ. Earlier this year, the Democrat-controlled state legislature passed the law for fear of low immunization rates among young people.

  • "New York eliminated religious exemptions from school-vaccination rules this year," the WSJ notes — and that "repeal came in the midst of the worst measles outbreak in the U.S. since 1992."
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said this week that he "wants his state to eliminate most exemptions via new legislation," per the WSJ.
  • California passed a law in 2015 that "barred families from citing personal beliefs, including religion, as a reason for schoolchildren to receive exemptions" for vaccination, per the WSJ — and a newly proposed state law aims to curb medical exemptions for vaccines.

Go deeper: No new measles cases reported last week for first time since January

Go deeper