Vaccines are Good - Disease is Bad: Current Exemptions Laws and Trends in Arizona and the Effect it Has on Public Health
35 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2015
Date Written: December 23, 2014
State laws require children to be vaccinated in order to attend private, public and charter school. However, some states allow the parent to exempt their child from immunization requirements for personal or religious beliefs. These exemptions are referred to as, "non-medical exemptions"
Over the last decade communities locally in Arizona and Nationally have experienced an increase in non-medical exemptions from state required immunizations. As exemptions increase there is a corresponding decrease in coverage. The decreasing coverage slowly chips away at the fragile herd immunity that the community relies upon. For highly infectious diseases such as measles, 95% coverage is ideal to create herd immunity. Communities across the country are falling below this threshold and as a result the nation is experiencing a resurgence of measles, a disease that for the last 20 years was rarely heard of.
This manuscript reviews current exemption laws in Arizona and nationally and the effect it has on the community. Ultimately, the manuscript proposes changes to the Arizona Revised Statutes and Arizona Administrative Code, to address the rising exemption rates. These proposed changes could be applied in other states as well.
Keywords: health, public health, immunization, non-medical exemptions, state law, outbreak, herd immunity
JEL Classification: I00, I12, I28, I18, I10, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation