All 50 states have legislation requiring students be vaccinated for diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough, chickenpox and polio, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
But all states allow exemptions for medical reasons; 47 allow exemptions for religious reasons and 17 also permit “philosophical exemptions” for those who object to immunizations because of personal, moral or other beliefs, according to the organization.
The rate of parents claiming non-medical exemptions for their children has been on the rise nationally and has been cause for concern among health officials battling measles outbreaks in New York, New Jersey and other states. A 95-percent vaccination rate in a given community is considered the threshold to prevent such outbreaks.
Measles cases in the U.S. this year have already hit their second-highest level since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000. The disease can spread via travelers returning from countries where measles is still common.
A press conference was held today in NY pushing for legistlation to remoce non-medical exemptions for vaccinations – thereby requiring eveyryone who claims religious beliefs, to vaccinate.