THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Study finds higher rates of vaccination exemptions in private schools

A recent study examining exemptions from vaccination laws in schools found higher rates of exemption in private versus public institutions.

The results of the study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, examined data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in the 2009-2010 school year. Across 36 states in the U.S., approximately 4 percent of kindergarten entrants in private schools were exempted from vaccinations, versus approximately 2 percent in public schools.

The study said that parents who seek to exempt their children from school-administered vaccinations are putting them in harm's way.

Two states in the U.S. allow vaccination exemptions based on medical reasons, 46 states and Washington, D.C., permit religious exemptions and 18 allow exemptions for philosophical or personal beliefs.

The study found that private schools had higher rates of all types of exemptions and overall exemption rates were significantly higher in states that allow personal belief exemptions.

States that do not allow exemptions based on personal beliefs also had lower rates of religious exemptions. Religious exemptions, however, have increased in those states, suggesting that some parents are using religious exemptions over personal beliefs.

Opposition to immunization is not part of any organized religious doctrine, except for Christian Scientists.