United states private schools have higher rates of exemptions to school immunization requirements than public schools

Jana Shaw, Boldtsetseg Tserenpuntsag, Louise Anne McNutt, Neal Halsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective To compare medical, religious, and personal belief immunization exemption rates between private and public schools in US. Study design Exemption rates were calculated using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention School Immunization Assessment Surveys for the 2009-2010 school year excluding states with incomplete survey data. Standardized exemption rates weighted on enrollments in public and private schools were calculated. Differences in exemption rates between public and private schools were tested using Wilcoxon signed rank test. Results The overall state exemption rate was higher in US private than public schools, 4.25% (SD 4.27) vs 1.91% (1.67), P =.0001 and private schools had higher exemption rates for all types of exemptions; medical 0.58% (0.71) vs 0.34% (0.34) respectively (P =.0004), religious 2.09% (3.14) vs 0.83% (1.05) respectively (P =.0001), and personal belief 6.10% (4.12) vs 2.79% (1.57), respectively (P =.006). Overall exemption rates were significantly higher in states that allowed personal belief exemptions. Conclusions Exemption rates were significantly higher in US private than in public schools. Children attending private schools may be at higher risk of vaccine-preventable diseases than public school children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-133
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Volume165
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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