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Mississippi vaccine requirements could be eased under bill

JACKSON — A bill that would let physicians exempt children from Mississippi’s vaccination requirements is advancing in the state House.

A split Education Committee voted Tuesday to push House Bill 938 (http://bit.ly/1S02JWj) to the full chamber for more debate.

Rep. Mark Formby, a Picayune Republican, says the state should honor physicians’ wishes.

Under current law, the state Health Department must approve requests to exempt children from the requirements, and top health officials oppose a change.

A group of parents pushing the bill say they, not the state, should be able to decide when their children get vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that in 2013-14, Mississippi had the largest percentage of kindergartners vaccinated against diseases.

A broader bill allowing parents to decline vaccinations for philosophical reasons died Tuesday.

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