Vaccinology is a hard science, a medical miracle that has all but eradicated a host of nasty infectious diseases thanks to the ingenuity and dedication of hundreds of researchers.

It’s not a philosophy.

Yet Oregon law allows parents of school-aged children to increase the risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases solely because they have a “philosophical” objection to having their kids immunized.

These parents can’t defend their decision, which imperils not only their own children but their communities in general, by citing hard science.

That’s because the science — and there is an immense volume of it, dating back in some cases several decades — shows beyond any reasonable doubt that vaccines, with extremely rare exceptions, are safe and effective.

We’re optimistic, then, that one Oregon legislator who wants to end this indefensible exemption to the state’s vaccination requirements for children attending schools will succeed where one of his colleagues failed in 2015. Rep. Mitch Greenlick, a Portland Democrat, is working on a bill that would eliminate the “philosophical” exemption. Kids could still be exempt from vaccines for medical — read: based on science — reasons.

California lawmakers, prompted by a measles outbreak in 2015, dropped the nonmedical exemption. Oregon shouldn’t wait for a similar stimulus.

— Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor

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