CDC: Vaccine exemptions for kindergartners at highest level
Parents across the country are increasingly declining to vaccinate their children as they enter school, new CDC data reveal.
While all 50 states and the District of Columbia require school-age children to be protected against measles, polio, whooping cough, and other infectious diseases, exemptions for medical reasons are permitted, with some states offering religious and philosophical exemptions as well.
Based on mandatory reporting, CDC calculated a jump in the share of kindergartners with an exemption to a new high of 3% during the 2022 to 2023 school year from 2.6% during the previous academic year.
“It is not clear whether this reflects a true increase in opposition to vaccination, or if parents are opting for nonmedical exemptions because of barriers to vaccination or out of convenience,” the report noted.
Vaccine hesitancy and antivaccine sentiment have swelled during the pandemic, which also saw childhood vaccination rates dip for logistical reasons. Many parents have had trouble getting their child back on track in the aftermath of closed physicians’ offices, scheduling problems, and other setbacks.