Mississippi House votes to expand vaccination exemptions

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The Mississippi House has voted to expand medical exemptions to childhood vaccination requirements that are some of the tightest in the nation.

The Republican-led House voted 65-54 Wednesday for an exemption bill as parents pushing the change packed House balconies to watch the debate. Similar bills have died in the past amid opposition from state health officials.

Mississippi State Department of Health spokeswoman Liz Sharlot says the state has “the best immunization laws on the books right now.”

Under House Bill 938, out-of-state physicians could approve medical exemptions that would allow Mississippi children to avoid some or all vaccinations that are required to attend school.

Under current law, the state Health Department must approve medical exemptions. The bill says the Health Department could not reject exemptions granted by physicians.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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