Maine to end non-medical exemptions for vaccinations

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Gov. Janet Mills has signed into law a bill that eliminates religious and philosophical exemptions for required vaccinations in Maine.

With the Democrat’s signature Friday, Maine will end non-medical vaccine opt-outs by 2021 for students at public and private schools and universities, including nursery schools, and for health care facility employees.

Maine joins California, Mississippi and West Virginia to become the fourth state without religious exemptions for vaccine requirements.

Maine has one of the highest rates of non-medical vaccine exemptions in the nation, and health officials say the opt-out rates appear to be rising.

Bill sponsor Democratic Rep. Ryan Tipping of Orono said it has become clear amid reports of measles and other preventable diseases “that we must act to ensure the health of our communities.”

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