“Vaccinations save lives. They spare us from suffering the impacts of disease and the dangers of infectious epidemics. Oregon’s Legislature should adopt Senate Bill 254 to ensure our communities are properly vaccinated and protect the public’s health.

Dr. Kim is a pediatric surgeon and Pediatric Specialties Lead for PeaceHealth Oregon Network.

OPS Member Dr. Kim Ruscher

If the last year has taught us anything, it is that infectious diseases can spread rapidly and have devastating impacts on our communities, our economy and our health systems. To be clear, this proposal does not pertain to the COVID-19 vaccine, which has not yet been approved for use in children under 16. Rather it relates to the vaccine requirements for children developed by the Oregon Health Authority.

Fortunately for us, many diseases – measles, mumps, tetanus, polio, to name a few – no longer threaten people in our community thanks to strong vaccination policies. Vaccines safely and effectively provide our children immunity from diseases like these and protect our communities from dangerous outbreaks.

Unfortunately, immunization rates in Oregon for many of these preventable diseases fall below the 95% rate needed to prevent outbreaks, also known as community immunity. For instance, more than 550 schools across Oregon report MMR vaccination rates below this threshold. That increases our likelihood of experiencing an outbreak of a preventable disease in our schools and communities.”

Read on for the full opinion piece, published 1/29/21 in the Statesman Journal.

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