By far, most Oregonians immunize themselves and their children as part of a healthy lifestyle. In 2009, nearly 7 out of 10 two-year-old children were up-to-date on their vaccinations. In our state, children are required to have immunizations in order to attend school, or their parents can claim a medical or nonmedical exemption. In 2010, about 95 percent of Oregon families with kids in school chose to fully immunize their children.
We will never have a 100 percent immunization rate because some people have medical conditions that make it impossible to vaccinate. But those who are able to immunize and choose not to must understand that not vaccinating could have serious consequences. In the event of a disease outbreak, unvaccinated children can be excluded from school or even quarantined; they will be at a higher risk for catching and spreading disease. And those children could unknowingly expose a pregnant woman or tiny infant to a harmful disease.
As Oregonians, we celebrate our independent spirit, but we also have a deep sense of community and caring for others. Immunization is one popular decision that will benefit us all.