Arizona state health official concerned about vaccine exemptions

Arizona's State Health Director Will Humble recently asked his staff to study new data on declining vaccination rates in the state in order to come up with a potential solution.

Humble specifically asked for intervention recommendations. The director said that he wants his staff to study hard data collected on personal exemptions by researchers at the University of Arizona's Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of public health, according to

"More Arizona parents are choosing not to vaccinate their kids- and using "personal exemptions" when they enroll their kids in school," Humble said, reports. "If the trend continues, we could jeopardize our immunization rates enough so that we'd see long gone diseases like measles and mumps return in Arizona."

The University of Arizona found that the number of personal exemptions is on the rise in Arizona. Rates were more than twice as high in the 2011-2012 school year as they were in 2003.

Arizona physicians reported that the primary reason behind vaccine refusals and delays is a lasting fear among parents that children will develop autism or suffer other long-term problems from vaccine side-effects. They also cited talking with parents as being the most effective tool in increasing vaccine rates.