February 17, 2009
CINCINNATI—An increasing number of Ohio parents are using religious exemptions to delay or refuse for immunizations for children amid fears that vaccines contribute to autism.
Ohio Department of Health data shows the number of religious or philosophical exemptions nearly quadrupled in Ohio between 1998 and 2008, though that figure still represents fewer than 1 in 100 children.
All states require children to be immunized for school. Most allow religious exemptions, and Ohio and 19 others also permit exemptions for personal reasons.
Doctors say they’re concerned that more exemptions could lead to outbreaks of preventable illnesses among children who haven’t had the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.