Montana bills seek to ease vaccination restrictions

February 26, 2019

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana lawmakers are considering loosening the state’s vaccination requirements even as Washington state deals with a measles outbreak spread mainly by children who haven’t been inoculated.

In Montana, parents can opt out of immunizing their children for either medical or religious reasons. In day cares, only medical exemptions are allowed.

There are no personal or philosophical exemptions allowed as there are in Washington, where the measles outbreak has sickened dozens of people.

The Montana bills include proposals to prohibit day cares from denying enrollment to children with religious exemptions and to prevent the state health department from enforcing any immunization requirements not authorized by state lawmakers.

Jim Murphy of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services said during a Monday hearing the state shouldn’t ease vaccination requirements, but enforce its rules and educate residents.

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