A number of Oregon medical groups are calling upon Republican gubernatorial nominee Knute Buehler to change his stance on mandatory vaccinations. Buehler said he backs the concept of vaccines, but believes that parents should have the right to decide if they vaccinate their children.
“As a physician I certainly believe in the benefits of vaccination, but I certainly believe that parents should have the right to opt out,” Buehler said during a recent televised debate.
Buehler is an orthopedic surgeon by trade.
The Oregon Pediatric Society, the Oregon Chapter of the American College of Physicians, and the Oregon Pediatric Society all requested that Buehler change his stance on the matter.
Studies show that 95 percent of the community needs to be vaccinated in order to achieve community immunity,” said Carla McKelvey, a medical doctor and president of the Oregon Pediatric Society. “We urge Dr. Buehler to reconsider his position so that it is evidence-based and aligns with the medical and public health experts who develop vaccine-related recommendations and legislation.”
The incumbent Gov. Kate Brown is a mandatory vaccine hardliner. During the same debate, Brown said that “We probably give some parents a little too much leeway” in regards to vaccine choice.
The state of Oregon requires that parents who wish to exempt their children from vaccines watch an online video, or speak to a physician prior.
Oregon is a state with some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, making it further unlikely that Buehler changes his stance on the matter.