WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier went online last week in favor of tighter vaccination standards, pointing to a measles outbreak that’s sickened scores and kept 800 Washington kids home from school.

Schrier, an 8th District Democrat who’s also a pediatrician, published an op-ed March 8 on The Hill, one of D.C.’s major policy-news sites. She went on the record in favor of Washington state House Bill 1638, which would do away with one loophole that lets parents avoid immunizing their kids, and says she’s working on a federal bill that would help the CDC counteract false anti-vaccine propaganda.

When scared parents are searching the Internet about how to best protect their young children,” Schrier wrote, “websites like the CDC’s should be the first results, not hoax videos.”

The 71 cases of measles detected in Clark and King County have forced more than 800 students statewide to stay home from school, since they are considered to have been exposed by their infected classmates. Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency to fight the spread, and HB 1638 was crafted to remove the philosophical or personal exemptions that parents can cite when declining the childhood vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella.

Anti-vaccine campaigners have protested the moves, but decades of medical research find no evidence that vaccination poses a hazard, including a massive study published this month that says there’s no increased risk of autism related to preventive shots.

The House bill passed last week 57-40, and hasn’t yet been scheduled for a committee hearing in the Senate.

Schrier wrote in her op-ed: “The real fear here should be of a potential epidemic of measles or whooping cough, not the immunizations which have been proven safe and effective at preventing those diseases for decades.”

Jefferson Robbins: 679-7013

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