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MADISON

State Rep. Deb Kolste, D-Janesville, has co-authored a bill that would eliminate vaccination waivers based solely on personal beliefs, according to a news release.

A bipartisan group of legislators introduced the bill Tuesday. It is aimed at curbing the anti-vaccination movement, which is made up of parents who don’t have their children vaccinated on the basis of illegitimate medical evidence.

The so-called anti-vax movement has been connected to a massive, ongoing measles outbreak in New York City and a suburban county.

Two decades ago, 1% of Wisconsin parents were opting out of vaccines. A federal Centers for Disease Control report said that figure had risen to 5% in 2018, with the vast majority of those being for personal reasons.

Wisconsin is one of the few states that allow people to opt out of vaccinations for personal beliefs.

The Rock County Public Health Department recently tightened its immunization policies so parents in county school districts would have a harder time obtaining the waiver. Most area school districts have seen a decline in waivers since the 2014-15 academic year.

The Wisconsin Medical Society, Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Wisconsin Public Health Association, among other medical groups, back the bill.

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