The Geography of Risk: Skipping School Vaccinations

The measles outbreak earlier this year prompted some states to reconsider their approach to exempting students from vaccinations. While all 50 states have policies that provide medical exemptions for student vaccination requirements, some states have recently made changes to their policies regarding personal and religious exemptions.

In 2019, New York became the fourth state to offer neither personal nor religious exemptions. Maine passed similar legislation, but it will not go into effect until 2021. While Washington state still allows personal and religious exemptions, the legislature passed a law that removed the personal belief exemption for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine requirement. Other states considered, including Oregon and New Jersey, considered bills to eliminate exemptions but ultimately left their policies unchanged.


Read our blog post on how school choice can exacerbate the problem in some place by concentrating like-minded parents in certain schools.

Read our blog post on how the 2019 measles outbreak affected students and schools.

Read our blog post about what education leaders can do to stop the spread of measles.

Research and map by Rachel Grich