New Washington law seeks to educate parents on immunizations

New Washington law seeks to educate parents on immunizations »Play Video
Vaccines in storage at Asotin County Public Health.
CLARKSTON - According to the Centers for Disease Control, Washington kindergartners do not meet state or national goals for any required immunizations when they enter school.

The report released last week said Washington has the highest exemption rate in the country, with close to 6% of kids having a parent signed exemption form.

"There are pockets of people that aren't well educated on immunizations and they do have phobias on vaccines, that they're not safe for their children," said Asotin County Public Health Nurse Lori Benton. "Sometimes there's an issue with getting to the doctor, or not knowing that their children are even due for vaccines."

But a new law going into effect next month looks to change that. Benton said the new law will require parents to seek information on vaccines, before signing an exemption.

"Parents either actually, physically talk to the physician over the phone, or talk to them in the office," said Asotin County Public Health Nurse Lori Benton. "So they're educated about immunizations. They're not taking the right away. Parents still have the right to have the doctor sign the exemption. This way they're informed, and they can make an informed choice."

But Benton doesn't think the numbers are entirely correct. She said being a border town adds complications when it comes to immunization records.

The new laws also aims to curb the number of convenience exemptions, where parents sign the waiver just so they don't have to search for the records.

The new law goes into effect July 22.