Health: Vaccination Exemptions

Statistics reveal that thirteen schools in Oregon have nonmedical vaccination exemption rates of fifty percent or greater. Many of the schools with these large percentages are in the affluent Lane County. The state requires vaccinations for diseases such as measles in order to attend school, but students can avoid this requirement with a note from a parent or a doctor. St. Thomas Becket Academy in Veneta, Oregon leads the state in vaccine exemptions at 72 percent. The parents who oppose the vaccines say that the risk from shots outweighs the risk from the diseases that they prevent. Vaccinations, which prevent epidemics of diseases like measles, a highly contagious respiratory illness that can spread through the air by sneezing or coughing, had nearly eradicated the disease in the U.S. The recent Disney measles outbreak is likely attributed to vaccination exemptions in children, and as a result, outbreaks of diseases that have been virtually non-existent, some for over fifty years, are happening across the country.

Contributor: Johanna Hartman

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