There are three types of school vaccination exemptions that are used in the United States. However, not all states allow each type. The original purpose of having exemptions to the school vaccination requirement was to allow individuals who are either unable to receive vaccinations for medical purposes or do not want the vaccination as it goes against their religious belief11. This way these individuals could still attend public school. Exemptions eventually grew to also encompass parents who did not have a medical or religious reason not to vaccinate their child but instead, they have personal or philosophical reasons why they are against the use of some or all vaccines.
While vaccination exemption laws have been established for many years, recent concerns have arose due to the increasing trend of exemption use24. This trend has the potential to put both individuals and communities at a higher risk for disease outbreaks. In a retrospective cohort study in Colorado, researchers found that children with exemptions were 22 times as likely to be infected with the measles and 6 times as likely to be infected with pertussis25. The more unprotected individuals in a community the larger the impact of an outbreak. The use of exemptions is found to directly correlate with the exemptions available and the ease of obtaining an exemption14. Additionally, the geographic clustering of exemptions is due to the population’s cultural associations, socioeconomic status and educational levels, in addition to local health care providers and political opinions and how vaccines are portrayed in the media14,26. Parents who are white, have high socio-economic status and are skeptical of the government and pharmaceutical in...
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...e law entirely. The vast majority of individuals in this country already plan on vaccinating their child using vaccinations regardless if it was mandated or not16. Thus, the groups that are targeted by the school vaccination requirement are the families that have difficulties accessing vaccinations or families who are hesitant or firmly against some or all vaccinations. The allowing of personal/philosophical exemptions would eliminate a large portion of the individuals to whom the law is directed. Such controversy about the legality of the personal/philosophical exemption has lead California, who currently allows all three type of exemptions, to pass a law, which will go in effect July 1, 2016, that removes both the personal/philosophical exemption and the religious exemption28. It remains to be seen if other personal/philosophical exemption states will follow suit.
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