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Health

Opting out of Vaccinations: Portland Lawmaker's Bill Would Make it More Difficult

A state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would make it more difficult for Maine parents to opt out of immunizing their children against measles, pertussis and other common diseases.

Rep. Richard Farnsworth, a Portland Democrat, says the bill would require parents to consult with a primary care professional before opting out on philosophical grounds, and get a signature. 

"I'm sure there will be a lot of people who disagree and that's OK," Farnsworth says, "but we need to take a serious look at this issue to protect the health of the general population."

The Portland Press Herald reports that Maine's opt-out rate for children entering Kindergarten has climbed recently to 5.2 percent, the fifth-highest in the nation.