Lawmakers propose bill to boost vaccination rate for Massachusetts children

Massachusetts

BOSTON (WWLP) – A number of Massachusetts school-children have not been vaccinated, as required by state law.

Members of both the House and Senate are teaming up to make sure Massachusetts children are protected from preventable childhood diseases. Their proposal attempts to standardize the immunization and exemption processes for all K-12 schools, summer camps, colleges and universities in the state.

Under the plan, parents who want their children exempt from vaccinations for things like chickenpox, measles, and polio would have to file their exemption request through the Department of Public Health.

“We really have pockets all across the state that are at risk here and that is why we need to look at this comprehensively with a public health infrastructure at the state level,” Sen. Rebecca Rausch (D-Needham), the bill’s sponsor, said.

Right now, more than 4% of students in some western Massachusetts communities, including Springfield and Pittsfield, do not meet school vaccination requirements.

Massachusetts schools are not required to share the data they have on unvaccinated students, which is just one of the data collection requirements that this bill aims to address.

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