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November 07, 2019

Study Suggests that Uptick in Religious Exemptions for Required School Vaccinations May Come From False Claims

A new study indicates that parents may be using religious exemptions from vaccinations as a replacement for personal belief exemptions in states where only religious exemptions are available. Most states allow for non-medical exemptions from mandated school vaccinations. Forty-five states have religious exemptions and 15 states have what is referred to as a personal belief exemption, which allows the parents to claim that vaccinations run counter to their beliefs. The study found that the rate of religious exemption was highly correlated with the presence of the personal belief exemption, with states that do not allow the personal belief exemption having 4 times as many religious belief exemptions than states that allow both. The report indicates that "state-level religious exemption rates appear to be a function of personal belief exemption availability, decreasing significantly when states offer a personal belief exemption alternative."