In May of last year Oregon Health Authority’s Immunization Department sent out a good news report to the Governor’s office showing a wonderful graph that our immunization rates were very high with MMR being the highest at 96.1 percent but statewide vaccine uptake for all school required vaccines at 94 percent.

In June, OHA then sent out a press release trying to shift attention from the high immunization rates to the “sudden sharp rise” in exemptions for kindergarten students. Like wild fire all major papers pushed this narrative that we have the highest exemptions in the nation and the lowest vaccination rates.

I then learned that OHA’s Immunization Manager is a Board member of a non-profit fully funded by vaccine manufacturers, Association for Immunization Managers.

I inquired with OHA on how they arrived at their statistics and why they are not telling the true data about how exemptions are counted. OHA’s Stacy Matthews responded and told me that more than 50 percent of the exemptions are people that are actually mostly fully vaccinated and only 2.6 percent of Oregon’s school children are fully unvaccinated, which per that same report only saw a .3 percent increase from 2017 to 2018 (student body increased by 3 percent).

Between, private and charter OHA reports 604,000 students. Out of those 604,000 students there are 31,500 exemptions to 1 or more of the 22 required vaccines. Out of those 31,500 exemptions roughly 15,705 children are fully unvaccinated for all vaccines in school.

Per the Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics, measles have never been eradicated. Oregon has seen over 56 cases in 20 years. CDC reports 68 percent of outbreaks have occurred due to importation of wild measles from people traveling from European counties to the U.S. and both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations got the wild measles. CDC reports two deaths in 27 years due to the measles in the United States. The VAERS database reports over 450 deaths since 1990 from the MMR vaccine, which per a Harvard study says the VAERS database captures less than 1 percent of all adverse events and deaths.

Last week OHA’s Dr. Peter Cieslak told the House Healthcare Committee that we have above 96 percent vaccination rates for MMR with our school children. We’ve surpassed herd immunity threshold by 10 percent.

So what’s the real reason for a panic? Are there safety concerns over the MMR? Is the MMR one of the most profitable vaccines for Merck and is there a monopoly over it? Did Merck see a 500 percent increase in their MMR uptake?

“I think it’s time to find out if the co-sponsors are have been paid by pharmaceutical vested interests to push HB3036.”

(Brittany Ruiz is an administrator with Oregonians for Medical Freedoms.)