Vt. keeps parent opt-out for school vaccines

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) – Vermont is keeping the philosophical exemption allowing parents to opt out of having their kids immunized.

But parents exercising that right will have to sign a statement once a year that they understand the risks that not having their child immunized could allow the spread of disease.

The outcome was a compromise on a hotly debated bill that as first written would have ended the exemption. Backers of doing so maintained that immunizations are an important public health measure and that the percentage of Vermont children getting all their shots had been dropping in recent years.

A vocal group of parents worked the Statehouse halls nearly every day this session as unpaid lobbyists defending the philosophical exemption.

One of them, Jennifer Stella, called the outcome a big victory.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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