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Mel Gravely
February-10-2015

Congress Proposing Bill Requiring All Head Start Children to be Vaccinated

head start vaccinationOne of the top stories over the past month has been the measles outbreak. The outbreak began in Disneyland in southern California as thousands of families visited the park for the holidays. Since then, 123 cases have been confirmed throughout the United States, and the number is climbing. Experts believe that the recent outbreak is linked to the increase in unvaccinated children whose families believe that vaccines cause autism and other complications.

In response to the outbreak, two lawmakers from California have proposed a bill in Congress that would require all Head Start and Early Head Start children to be vaccinated before they can attend the program. The law is particularly interesting because it only allows an exemption for medical reasons. Many state laws currently allow parents to opt-out of vaccinations if they cite a religious or personal objection. The proposed national law governing Head Start programs will exclude that exemption.

If a child is already enrolled in Head Start and is unvaccinnated, then the family would have three months to get the child’s shots up to date. Under the bill, Head Start programs would assist families in accessing the services they need in order to get their children fully vaccinated.

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