Idaho bill would require parents to opt into the state’s vaccination database

A proposed Idaho bill seeks to change the state’s vaccine registry from opt-out to opt-in. The change would require parents to choose to include their child’s vaccination status in the statewide database. Proponents of the bill say it will protect privacy and ensure informed consent, while opponents argue that updating health systems and accommodating the change would have tremendous financial and administrative costs, with the largest burden falling on rural residents.

Risk level: Medium

Recommendation: Social media posts in response to this bill may discourage patients in Idaho from getting recommended vaccines for their children. Messaging may emphasize that routine immunizations keep children and communities safe. Idaho has the highest childhood vaccine exemption rate in the country at 12.1 percent, four times the national average. As of the 2022-2023 school year, the state was at or below herd immunity thresholds for measles, mumps, and rubella; diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis; polio; and chickenpox. High vaccination exemption rates correspond with low immunity and an increase in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Learn more about recommended vaccines for children from the CDC.