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Maine could end non-medical opt-outs for vaccinations

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) β€” Maine could end non-medical exemptions for routine childhood vaccines required by schools and certain health care facilities by September 2021.

The Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee voted 8-5 on a Democrat’s bill Wednesday.

Multiple studies have debunked claims that measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations increase the risk for autism. Maine has one of the nation’s highest rates of pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

But opponents say argued Maine parents should remain able to opt-out on religious or philosophical grounds.

Republican Rep. Heidi Sampson said the state is stigmatizing thousands of kids who could face removal from school.

Federal data shows Maine had among the highest rates of non-medical vaccine exemptions in 2017-2018.

Oregon and Washington are also considering bills to end non-medical exemptions for childhood vaccines.

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