UPDATED 10:05 AM PT – Sunday May 26, 2019
A nation-wide Measles outbreak reaches Maine, making it the 25th state to be impacted by the disease.
In response, the State Governor Janet Mills signed a bill Friday, ending most non-medical exemptions for childhood vaccines.
Under the legislation, religious and philosophical beliefs will not be accepted as reasons to opt out of vaccinating a child as required by schools and day cares.
This comes after Maine’s Center for Disease Control reported its first case of measles in a vaccinated child.
The child has since fully recovered, however, the incident sparked action from state leaders.
The new law will allow doctors and pediatric primary care givers to determine if a child should receive a medical exemption for vaccines.
In effect, kids, nursery school employees, and health care facility workers without medical exemptions will be obligated to get vaccines.
The CDC says it will also begin reporting on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines in an effort to increase transparency.
Maine has one of the highest rates of non-medical vaccine exemptions in the nation with opt-out rates reportedly rising.
Therefore, the law is expected to go into effect in 90 days, giving unvaccinated students until 2021 to get their required vaccines.
This come as health officials reported more than 800 confirmed measles cases in the country this year, making 2019 the largest outbreak since the disease was considered radicated in 2000.
Maine will now become the fourth state to eliminate religious exemptions for vaccine requirements, joining California, Mississippi, and West Virginia.