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April 22, 2024 Group Watch: Senate Passes Bill Loosening Vaccine Regulations

The Alabama Senate approved a bill that would loosen regulations for religious exemptions for vaccines in schools. The bill, sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr, passed 24-5. The bill would allow parents who have a religious objection to vaccination to declare that in a statement to the local board of education. The parent would not have to provide evidence or win the approval of the board. He said that employees at the Department of Health are not supposed to question people about their religious beliefs, though some do. Health officials have expressed concerns about declining vaccination rates in the state. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination rate in Alabama hit 94% in 2022-23, down from 95% for the 2021-22 school year. The CDC says at least 95% of the population needs to be vaccinated against measles to create herd immunity. Nine out of 10 unvaccinated people become infected after being exposed to measles.

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