Florida's kindergarten vaccine exemption rate is ticking up
Across Florida, 3.9% of kindergartners were granted exemptions for vaccines in the 2022 school year, compared to 1.5% in 2012.
Why it matters: Vaccinations reduce the spread of childhood illnesses — some potentially fatal — that once plagued the country, such as polio.
- While children are generally required to get vaccinations before attending public school, exemptions can be given for both medical and non-medical reasons, such as religious or moral objections.
- Studies have found an increased risk of infection from vaccine-preventable diseases among exempt children.
Driving the news: While COVID-19 vaccination is not required for young children attending public school anywhere in the U.S., it appears that concerns over that shot may be fueling broader vaccine skepticism.
By the numbers: The nationwide median kindergarten vaccine exemption rate was rising even before the pandemic, increasing from 1.4% in 2012 to 2.6% in 2019.
- It has stayed at 2.5% or higher since 2020, coming in at 2.7% in 2022, the latest year for which data is available.
Between the lines: Americans as a whole are overwhelmingly supportive of childhood vaccinations, per a recent (and deeply enlightening) Pew survey.
Yes, but: Just 70% of Americans now say healthy kids should be vaccinated as a requirement to attend public school, Pew found — down from 82% in the pre-pandemic era.
- Further, 85% of Democrats agree with such a requirement compared to 57% of Republicans.
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