DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Child vaccination exemptions have reached an all time high.
The number of exemptions varies from state to state, due to laws or policies in place. In some states, it can be difficult for parents to obtain vaccine exemptions. It’s not the case here in Ohio, where exemptions are increasing.
New data shows vaccination rates among children are lower now than pre-pandemic levels. According to the CDC, 115,000 kindergarteners received an exemption from at least one vaccine.
“Do we see a higher rate now than we did five years ago? Yeah, I believe we do. And ten years ago. Absolutely. There’s also more immunizations out there. So, by proxy, your rate’s going to look a little worse because you got 20 you got to get now as opposed to the three I had to give was when I was a kid,” said Joseph Allen, regional medical director at Premier Health.
More parents are questioning routine vaccinations for their children, leaving them unprotected against preventable diseases including measles, whooping cough, chickenpox, and more.
All states require children attending child daycare and schools to be vaccinated. However, exemptions are permitted for medical conditions. Some states also offer exemptions for religious or non-medical reasons.
Some pediatric practices in the Miami Valley also require vaccinations.
“Many of them have gone to a policy where if you do not vaccinate the child, then they will not see the child. And so, as kind of hands that kind of trickle down and myself being family practice, I’ve taken on some of those patients and we see a high rate of that,” said Allen.
Allen says different variables play a part in why childhood immunizations are such a divisive issue, and it’s important to approach the conversation with facts.
“So don’t you know if you Google something, I don’t know, maybe depending on where you get it from, sometimes it’s good, sometimes bad. But just reach out and ask your health care professionals,” said Allen.
Taking emotions off the table is also recommended. Allen says starting from an emotional standpoint can lead to rash decisions. Legitimate information is out there, and that’s where Allen recommends parents work from.