In 2017, Minnesota suffered its largest measles outbreak in nearly 30 years, sickening 79 residents throughout the spring and summer. The number of chickenpox cases in the state this year has also been higher than usual.
Looking ahead to 2018, a growing number of Minnesotans are hoping for a change in the law that would make it harder for parents to opt out of immunizations for their children. The rash of measles and chickenpox cases in Minnesota this year have been linked to pockets of unvaccinated children.
Under current Minnesota law, parents can opt out of vaccinations if they don't want their children to receive the shots. But in several other states, parents need a medical reason to opt out.
Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) has long proposed a bill that would mean parents could opt out of vaccinations only after speaking with a doctor. Frieberg's proposal falls short of allowing parents to opt out of vaccinations only for medical reasons, but immunization advocates say it would be a step in the right direction. The legislature is expected to consider the bill in 2018.