The Fate Of Non-Medical Vaccine Exemptions
Researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health conducted a review that was published in Health Affairs looking at vaccination policies through legislative rulings and accounts by health officials. They found that non-medical vaccine exemptions were more difficult to obtain than in the past.
All 50 states allow for a valid medical exemption, but recently the tide has shifted. Last year, California followed the example of Mississippi and West Virginia and eliminated non-medical exemptions. Twelve other states considered a similar bill on these non-medical exemptions in 2015. This came after the infamous measles outbreak, traced to two Disneyland theme parks.
According to the researchers, immunization rates in Mississippi and West Virginia show the benefits of strict exemption policies. In the 2014-15 school year, vaccinations in Mississippi for measles-mumps-rubella and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis stood at over 99 percent for kindergarteners, the highest rate in the country with only 17 children of kindergarten age receiving medical exemptions.
For more information, read the full study.