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Vaccine Exemptions: Bill Would Make It Harder For Colorado Parents To Opt Out

DENVER (CBS4) - Colorado could be the next state to pass a law to get more children vaccinated. Lawmakers are debating the new bill Monday afternoon.

MMR Vaccine Vial
The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine does not increase the risk of autism and does not trigger autism in children who are at risk, according to a new study of over 650,000 children. (CNN)

The bill requires the state health department to develop a standardized form and a strict process for parents who choose to not immunize their children -- whether it be for medical, personal or religious reasons.

Additionally, the bill will overhaul how the state keeps track of who has received immunizations.

The bill's sponsors say they want schools to be safe for all kids. But on Sunday, some parents protested the bill outside of the state Capitol.

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(credit: CBS)

"The language in the bill is insidious. There is nothing in the bill that says we can keep our exemptions and there is open ended language that would allow them to add any vaccine they want," Sarah Carrasco said.

Colorado ranks among the lowest when it comes to vaccination rates, including diseases like measles, mumps, chicken pox and whooping cough.

Less than 89 percent of the state's kindergarten-aged children have received the vaccines needed to prevent illnesses such as measles, mumps, whooping cough and chickenpox — far below the national median and the 95 percent threshold needed to prevent an outbreak, the Colorado Sun reported.

"Measles is definitely one of the major causes of pediatric disease globally. Still around 100,000 deaths around the world every year," Dr. James Gaensbauer told CBS4 in August 2018. "Measles is one of the most highly contagious diseases that is out there, actually. The biggest susceptibility out there is not so much an age, but whether a human is immune or not. We will often see most of the severe cases in small infants."

Measles has been reported in 20 states so far this year.

Related: Doctors Encourage Coloradans To Get Measles Vaccinations

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