Press Release – Religious Exemption
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APRIL25,2023
RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS FOR REQUIRED CHILDHOOD VACCINATIONS FOR SCHOOL ENTRY
MADISON, MS – On April 18, a federal judge ordered the Mississippi State Department of Health to develop a policy that allows for religious exemptions for required childhood vaccinations for school entry. This action undermines our state’s record of public health success in fighting preventable disease.
Community-wide immunity conferred through routine childhood immunization protects all people in our state from deadly infections. We all have patients or relatives who have immunocompromising conditions like childhood cancer, immunodeficiencies, transplants, or autoimmune conditions that put them at risk for serious complications of these vaccine- preventable diseases. In other states that allow nonmedical exemptions for childhood vaccination, preventable diseases like measles have reemerged. However, Mississippi has not had a case of measles in over 20 years due to our high levels of childhood vaccination coverage. An outbreak of measles this year in Ohio led to 85 total cases, with 36 of those children hospitalized—all in children that were not fully vaccinated. Any time that we leave children unprotected from vaccine-preventable disease, we take unnecessary and unacceptable risks.
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