Measles Outbreak Update: 5 Reasons For Vaccine Exemption

The ongoing measles outbreak has been marked as one of the worst in decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention already reported multiple cases across the U.S., including New York, Washington state, Texas, Illinois and California.  

Despite the alarming rates of people, especially children, being affected by measles, many parents still opt to avoid being vaccinated. Some people refuse to get vaccines due to medical, religious or personal reasons.

Some state governments respect such reasons. There are vaccine exemption laws that make it easier for people to avoid vaccines.

But some states require children to get certain vaccines before they can go to school.  Not getting a vaccine has been linked to higher risk of getting sick or contracting diseases like measles, mumps and pertussis, according to WebMD.

"Measles tends to be the disease we see the fastest because it's one of the most highly contagious viruses," Peter Hotez, a professor of pediatrics and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said. "Up until a couple of decades ago, measles was the single leading killer of children globally."

But there are good reasons to avoid vaccines.

Medical conditions

Health is the top reason why parents tend to ask for exemption for their child. By law, kids can avoid being vaccinated if:

  • They have a disease or take medicine that weakens their immune system.
  • They have a severe allergy to a vaccine or an ingredient in it.
  • They had a serious reaction to a vaccine in the past.



Some states allow families to avoid vaccination if proven that they belong to a religious group that objects the use of vaccines. These religions include Christian Scientists and some faith healing groups.

Philosophical exemptions

Some parents ignore vaccines due to personal beliefs, like its side effects. Other people also believe getting sick or exposing their children earlier to diseases would help improve and strengthen their immune system. However, experts have already debunked many of these concerns.

In the U.S., 50 states and the District of Columbia currently allow medical exemptions, while 17 allow parents to decline vaccines for personal reasons. But California, Mississippi and West Virginia implemented policies to deny religious exemptions. 

If you have concerns about vaccination effects, it is important to consult a doctor before making any decision to avoid or get a vaccine. They will provide and discuss the benefits of vaccines as well as the risks.