Governor Mills signs bill ending nonmedical vaccine exemptions

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) - Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill ending most nonmedical exemptions for childhood vaccines.

The bill, LD 798, eliminates religious and philosophical exemptions for receiving immunizations required by schools and day cares.

In a press release, Rep. Ryan Tipping, a Democrat from Orono who sponsored the bill, said, "As we hear more reports of measles and other preventable diseases in Maine and across the country, it has become clear that we must act to ensure the health of our communities. I am grateful to my colleagues for working so hard on this bill and to Governor Mills for supporting this measure to protect our kids. I look forward to seeing this implemented and keeping our schools and day cares safe."

Under the new law, it will be up to doctors and pediatric primary care givers to determine if a child should receive a medical exemption. The Maine Center for Disease Control will also now report on safety and effectiveness of vaccines in an effort to increase transparency.

The new law takes effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns. Unvaccinated students will have until 2021 to receive vaccinations required for school.