June 20, 2018 02:34 pm Michael Devitt – A new study shows that numerous states and large metropolitan centers have seen an uptick in the number of nonmedical exemptions (NMEs) from childhood vaccinations granted. The study, published in PLOS Medicine,(journals.plos.org) found that in the past decade, the number of philosophical exemptions to vaccination has increased in two-thirds of the states that allow such exemptions. As a result, researchers suggest that these areas are becoming increasingly vulnerable to vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks.
Although school immunization laws in every state grant vaccination exemptions to children for medical reasons, states may also grant NMEs for other reasons. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures,(www.ncsl.org) 47 states have provisions that allow parents to exempt their children from receiving a vaccine if it contradicts their religious beliefs, and 18 states permit philosophical exemptions based on moral, personal or other beliefs.
The researchers investigated this last group of states using data collected from the CDC and state health departments for school years 2009-2010 to 2016-2017. These data were used to establish NME rates among entering kindergarteners in each state and, where possible, at the county level.