Maine could end non-medical opt-outs for vaccinations

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Maine lawmakers could tighten vaccination requirements under a Democrat's bill.

The bill would end non-medical exemptions for routine childhood vaccines required by schools and certain health care facilities.

A Republican's bill would leave medical exemptions at the "sole discretion" of a health care provider, including anyone authorized to administer vaccines. That bill would prevent requirements that medical exemptions be reviewed, while also preventing school boards and municipalities from having stricter immunization requirements than state law.

Public hearings on the bills are scheduled Wednesday.

Federal data shows Maine had among the nation's highest rate of non-medical vaccine exemptions in 2017-2018.

Multiple studies have debunked claims that measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations increase the risk for autism.

Oregon and Washington are also considering bills to end non-medical exemptions for routine childhood vaccines.