State law requires many no-vaccine kids to get doc's note

State law requires many no-vaccine kids to get doc's note »Play Video
SEATTLE -- It's more than school supplies and sack lunches for a lot of kids returning to school this fall.

Because of a new state law, many will now need a doctor's note if they opt out of vaccines.

A shot in the arm is as much a part of back to school as a new back pack, but many parents disagree with getting their kids vaccinated.

In Northshore School District, the number of holdouts are higher than the district wants for the sake of the community's health.

"For a long time, Washington has been kind of in the bottom in the United States for compliance with vaccinations. We have a very high exemption rate," Sandie Tracy, the district's health and nursing supervisor. "I can say for our kindergartners, it's been about 6½ percent, which is high, you know. We would like to see that below 3 percent," said

The state believes it's not always because of religious, medical or philosophical reasons that parents choose against vaccinations.

"A lot of parents found it much easier to sign the exemption form for philosophical exemptions than to get vaccines in the office," pediatrician Dr. Neil Kaneshiro.

To eliminate exemptions of convenience, the state is changing the rules this school year. Parents who philosophically oppose vaccines now need a doctor to sign their exemption forms before enrolling their kids.

"We explain the risks and ramifications of not having the vaccines. And if they still have a strong belief - 'I don't want that for my child' - then all the doctor is signing is that they've explained the risks to the patient," said Kaneshiro said.

Parents who have religious objections need to sign exemption forms, but don't need a doctor's note.

If kids head to school without exemption forms signed, they won't be turned away from class; however, their parents should expect a call