Vaccine leadership needed

Oregon lawmakers have tried at least a couple of times to make it more difficult for parents to avoid vaccinating their children, unfortunately with little success.

And while those who support the idea may face an uphill battle this year when the Legislature meets, they must keep trying.

Gov. Kate Brown, along with state Sen. Herman Baertschiger, R-Grants Pass, killed the 2019 effort to save the massive new business tax bill Democrats wanted so badly.

At least 28 Oregonians came down with measles in 2019, in part because at least three travelers passed through the Portland airport when they were ill. The measles is particularly contagious. The virus can live in the air for two hours, infecting those who pass through or touch surfaces that have been contaminated, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Worse, measles can be a killer. In Samoa in late 2019 an outbreak claimed nearly 80 lives in a country where only 31% of the population had been vaccinated. Herd immunity, which generally prevents measles from spreading much, kicks in only when 93% to 95% of a community is vaccinated. Oregon’s kindergarten vaccination rate is 93%, right on the ragged edge of real problems should an infected child show up at school. The overall vaccination rate for adults and children is only 78 percent.

Meanwhile, Beth Crane, who chairs the Oregon Public Health Association’s policy committee, noted recently in an article for The Oregonian that even without mass outbreaks measles cases cause problems.

A third of those who caught measles here in 2019 spent time in the hospital being treated for serious complications, for one thing. Here’s another: Cancer patients, whose immune systems are often weakened by chemotherapy, are at extra risk for the disease, even if they’d been vaccinated earlier. Crane writes that some 20,000 Oregonians will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

Brown may well hold the key to vaccination legislation in her hand again this year, though she apparently plans to do nothing about the problem, if a statement released Thursday by her press secretary, Charles Boyd, is any indication. “Governor Brown will not be introducing a bill on vaccination during the short February session. However, especially in light of recent outbreaks of measles and other diseases for which effective vaccines exist, she continues to believe vaccination is critically important to the health of all Oregonians, and that parents should make sure their children receive all the vaccinations they need to live healthy lives.”

It’s a disappointing, but probably not unsurprising, stand from the woman elected to lead Oregonians to better things.

(8) comments


If parents don’t want to vaccinate their children then they should understand those children should not be allowed to endanger the rest of us. They should be home schooled, no theaters, malls, grocery stores or other public places. Their “choice”.


While The Bulletin Ed Board put the issue on Brown's shoulder they don't ad, or conveniently forget to mention that our representative Cheri Helt has decided not to pursue the issue as she did last year. Could be there's no room in the upcoming session, or that she is now in lockstep with the Republican Party. Per usual, no journalism done by The Bull (a simple call to Helt's office) prior to this opinion.

Greg Madison

Well, given Oregon has such a dedicated group of disease-spreading anti-vaxxers masquerading as "medical choice" propagandists, more outbreaks will happen, and sooner rather than later. Stupidity is painful--too bad, however children will pay that price.

Kelly Yzaguirre

Greg, please share how someone without a disease can be labeled as “disease-spreading”. So are you going to attack everyone who has been fully vaccinated and still spread whooping cough, mumps and measles? Are vaccines a medical procedure? Are there risks and side effects? Have people been compensated for vaccine injury? The answer is yes, yes and yes. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) was created solely for this purpose.

Greg Madison

You drive down vaccination rates with your anti-vaccine propaganda and lies and then diseases like measles come back. This makes you all disease-spreading. Of course, you already knew what I meant, but being anti-vax means you have to pretend ignorance about the mayhem, injury and death your movement is causing.


From 2006 through 2019 there were 3.5 Billion vaccinations of which 4,500 were compensable. That's 0.00000078% (Source National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program).

Kelly Yzaguirre

It’s well known that merely 1% of reactions are reported to the VAERS system. Doctors are pressed to keep children on a one-size-fits all schedule of dozens of shots, much more than generations prior. Parents are not given adequate consent, much less steps to take if there is a reaction. In most cases these parents are brushed off and told that the change they see in their child is not from vaccines. I’m sorry but if your perfectly healthy child starts having seizures after being injected with heavy metals, the cause shouldn’t be debatable. These parents shouldn’t be ostracized for sharing their personal injury stories. The censorship of these individuals is cruel and unjust. Safety and efficacy need to be a top priority to these pharmaceutical companies, but unfortunately they are free from liability. There is no incentive to make safer vaccines, only to create more patents and control all administration aspects.


An example of what you ask in your first sentence would be "Typhoid Mary", who was a carrier and infected at least 50 people while working as a cook before discovery.

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