Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

As Measles Outbreaks Rise, States Reconsider Vaccine Exemptions

Public health experts and officials blame the exemptions as one reason why states are seeing an increased number of cases of measles.

By Jessie Hellmann

Measles outbreaks across the nation are prompting state lawmakers to consider eliminating vaccination exemptions for religious and personal beliefs that have been claimed by the parents of some children.

Public health experts and officials blame the exemptions as one reason why states are seeing an increased number of cases of measles.

“What you see as religious choice could possibly cause negative health outcomes for other members of your community and society,” said Pat Burke, a Democratic state lawmaker in New York who is pushing to eliminate the state’s religious exemption. 

Laws allowing parents to opt out of vaccinations were created by states trying to strike a delicate balance between religious freedom, personal choice and public health.

But the most recent measles outbreaks, which have infected 159 mostly unvaccinated people in 10 states, is leading some states to reconsider.

“That goes beyond religious freedom,” said Burke.  

Every state requires that students be vaccinated to enroll in school, and all states allow exemptions for children who are too sick to receive vaccines or who have a weakened immune system.

Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
Sponsored
In recent years, local governments have been forced to adapt to a wildly changing world, especially as it pertains to sending bills and collecting payments.
Sponsored
Workplace safety is in the spotlight as government leaders adapt to a prolonged pandemic.
Sponsored
While government employees, students and the general public had to wait in line for hours in the beginning of the pandemic, at-home test kits make it easy to diagnose for the novel coronavirus in less than 30 minutes.
Sponsored
Governments around the nation are working to design the best vaccine policies that keep both their employees and their residents safe. Although the latest data shows a variety of polarizing perspectives, there are clear emerging best practices that leading governments are following to put trust first: creating policies that are flexible and provide a range of options, and being in tune with the needs and sentiments of their employees so that they are able to be dynamic and accommodate the rapidly changing situation.
Sponsored
Service delivery and the individual experience within health and human services (HHS) is often very siloed and fragmented.
Sponsored
In this episode, Marianne Steger explains why health care for Pre-Medicare retirees and active employees just got easier.
Sponsored
Government organizations around the world are experiencing the consequences of plagiarism firsthand. A simple mistake can lead to loss of reputation, loss of trust and even lawsuits. It’s important to avoid plagiarism at all costs, and government organizations are held to a particularly high standard. Fortunately, technological solutions such as iThenticate allow government organizations to avoid instances of text plagiarism in an efficient manner.
Sponsored
Creating meaningful citizen experiences in a post-COVID world requires embracing digital initiatives like secure and ethical data sharing, artificial intelligence and more.
Sponsored
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?