Leach bill aims to end philosophical exemption from vaccines

State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware)
State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) | Courtesy of the Pennsylvania State Senate

State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Mongomery/Delaware) recently proposed legislation that would eliminate philosophical exemptions from vaccinations for children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the state is the second-lowest in the number of schoolchildren who are vaccinated.

Vaccinations for children who are school age are shown to prevent diseases that are easily spread from person to person or in large groups. The bill requires vaccinations against diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, rubella, mumps, hepatitis B, chickenpox, meningococcal disease and whooping cough to attend public school. As the law now stands, there are exemptions allowed for health, religious or a "strong moral or ethical conviction similar to religious belief."

“Vaccines are safe," Leach said. "The recent outbreak of measles reminds us that vaccines are also absolutely essential to public health. It should be the policy of the Pennsylvania government to encourage the highest possible vaccination rate.”

In California, there have been 125 cases of measles that have been traced to infections at Disney parks between Dec. 28 and Feb. 8, the CDC said, attributing dozens of those cases to unvaccinated individuals.

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Sen. Daylin Leach (D-17)

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