The vaccine fight might be coming to Massachusetts

A pediatrician injects a vaccine against measles, rubella, mumps and chicken pox to an infant in February.
A pediatrician injects a vaccine against measles, rubella, mumps and chicken pox to an infant in February. –Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Two words might change the way vaccine exemptions work in the state.

A bill recently proposed by State Senator Joan Lovely would allow parents to use the “personal belief exemption’’ to state law. Right now, parents are only allowed to exempt their children from vaccines based on religious or medical reasons. Lovely’s bill, plans to add the words “or personal’’ to the exemption list, which would give anti-vaxxing parents who don’t have strong religious or medical objections a way to legally avoid vaccinating their kids.

Lovely, of Salem, filed the bill on behalf of a constituent, but hasn’t decided how she feels about it yet.

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“I don’t have a position on the bill,’’ Lovely told Boston.com. “I need to listen to my constituency before I decide.’’

Lovely did say she’s already heard both sides of the debate. Unsurprisingly, most of the bill’s supporters are parents who believe their children have been negatively affected by vaccines, such as the constituent who asked her to file the bill. On the other hand, Lovely said most people who oppose the bill are members of the medical community.

While the bill would expand the number of people who can opt out of vaccinating their kids, most states are moving to limit vaccine exemptions. In June, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that will eliminate the personal belief exemption starting in July 2016. In his letter explaining why he signed the bill, Brown said, “The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases.’’

You can’t argue with the facts.

Related gallery: A Doctor’s guide to important vaccines

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