Oregon’s top two gubernatorial candidates met Tuesday night for a third and final debate. Republican Knute Buehler of Bend squared off against Democratic Gov. Kate Brown at a television studio in Portland.
While the two disagreed on many things, their views on childhood vaccination were remarkably similar and, unfortunately, just plain wrong. Neither one sees a real problem in this state’s abominable vaccination rate, the worst in the country, according to the United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings and the state’s role in improving it.
Brown’s comment, “We probably give some parents a little too much leeway,” conveniently overlooks the fact that she had the chance to veto the current vaccination exemption bill and chose not to. Buehler said “parents should have the right to opt out.” As a physician, he should know the danger lurking when too many kids go unvaccinated. In his own community at least six schools have so few vaccinated youngsters that kids would be at risk for truly dangerous diseases if one child became ill.
Both should be ashamed of their positions on the subject. No governor nor candidate for governor should be so quick to embrace a view that risks the public’s health as this one does.