June 9, 2015 11:09 am

End personal and religious vaccine exemptions: American Medical Association

FILE- In this Dec. 10, 2014, file photo, Julietta Losoyo, right, a registered nurse at the San Diego Public Health Center gives Derek Lucero a whooping cough injection while in his fathers Leonel's arms as his brother Iker, 2, looks on.

(AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

CHICAGO – The American Medical Association has adopted policies against nonmedical vaccine refusals and for transgender people in the military.

The nation’s largest doctors’ group says parents should not be able to refuse to have their kids vaccinated for personal or religious reasons. That’s because of the health risks unvaccinated kids pose to others.

Global News
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READ MORE: Anti-vaccination movement means preventable diseases making a comeback

At its annual policymaking meeting in Chicago on Monday, the AMA said it would support efforts to end those exemptions in state immunization mandates.

The AMA also adopted a policy saying there’s no medically valid reason for the military’s ban on transgender service members. And it agreed to organize efforts to create guidelines for assessing whether older physicians remain competent to safely treat patients.

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The group has considerable lobbying clout and its positions tend to influence policymakers.

2014 saw another year with measles outbreaks across North America: an outbreak that originated out of Disneyland in the U.S. is slowly grew while health officials in Toronto confirmed an outbreak in Canada’s largest city.

In the U.S., nearly 100 cases have been reported in Michigan, Arizona, Utah, Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Nebraska.

READ MORE: Measles outbreak with Disney park origins grows to 95 cases

At this same time last year, outbreaks of measles, whopping cough and mumps were widely reported across Canada and into the U.S. The thing is, these diseases are preventable with vaccines.

Doctors are pointing to one culprit: a steadily growing anti-vaccination movement.

READ MORE: Anti-vaccination movement means preventable diseases making a comeback

“When people say some of this might be related to low vaccine rates among people, that’s a huge understatement,” Dr. Gerald Evans, a Queen’s University medicine professor and director of infection control at Kingston General Hospital, told Global News.

“It’s all because of vaccination rates falling. It’s 100 per cent blamed on the fact that people aren’t getting vaccinated,” Evans said.

The Canadian Medical Association did not yet provide comment to Global News Tuesday.

– With files from Global News

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