Bend moms-to-be weigh in on vaccine debate

Ore. Senate votes to tighten rules for exemptions

Senate pushes for healthier children

BEND, Ore. - It's a controversial topic: Should your kids be immunized before they head to public schools? A bill aimed at tightening exemptions for vaccinations passed the Oregon Senate in a 16-13 vote Thursday, and we talked to some expectant mothers in Bend about their views on the debate.

The bill, SB 132A, if it becomes law, would require parents who want to opt out of immunization to sign an exemption form, along with their doctor, acknowledging they've been informed of the benefits and risks of immunization.

If they can't, they must show a certificate that shows the parents have watched an educational video prepared by the state.

"I would hope that if my child is immunized, they would be safe," expecting mom Lesley Srikantaiah said Thursday evening.

She says she is still researching and trying to learn what the best option is for her child on the way.

"I would feel quite sad to know that a schoolmate of my child was ill because they didn't have to be, because they didn't get immunized," Srikantaiah said.

She says there is a lot of information both for and against vaccination.

Crystal Nelson, who is expecting her third child, has decided immunization is the right path for her and her family. Just recently, she had a conversation with her sister, who has decided to take a more natural approach.

"Her kids are needing to get immunized, and she is contemplating if she should actually do it," Nelson said.

She says polio is no more because everyone got vaccinated for it, and wonders why some would want to take the chance.

"I told her I would rather know that my kids are safe and possibly even avoid death than being autistic," Nelson said.

The bill now heads to the Oregon House.

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