Nearly 32,000 Illinois school children unvaccinated for measles

 
 
Updated 2/6/2015 3:25 PM
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  • A single-dose vial of the measles-mumps-rubella virus vaccine.

    A single-dose vial of the measles-mumps-rubella virus vaccine. Associated Press

  • Pediatrician Charles Goodman vaccinates 1-year-old Cameron Fierro with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine at his practice in Northridge, Calif.

    Pediatrician Charles Goodman vaccinates 1-year-old Cameron Fierro with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine at his practice in Northridge, Calif. Associated Press

In the 2013-14 school year, 98.3 percent of school-aged children were immunized for measles, leaving about 31,774 statewide who have been granted an exemption from getting the vaccine or aren't in compliance.

The numbers come from a yearly report from the Illinois State Board of Education that keeps track of how many school-aged children are immunized and how many get exemptions from the required immunizations.

The count doesn't include infants like the five in Palatine reported to be infected with measles who were too young to be vaccinated. But the report offers a window into compliance statewide. About 14,040 children last school year didn't have the measles vaccine and didn't qualify for an exemption, according to the report.

A little more than half of one percent, about 13,527 children, had an exemption last school year on religious grounds, the report says.

"The religious objection may be personal and need not be directed by the tenets of an established religious organization," a state rule says. It also says "general philosophical or moral reluctance" doesn't count under the law.

About two tenths of one percent of children, or 4,207, have an exemption for medical reasons. Getting one requires a statement from a doctor. Even though parents who don't vaccinate their children have risen in profile in recent years, state data shows total compliance with all state immunization laws has risen more than a percentage point over the past five school years from 96.3 percent in the 2009-2010 school year to 97.6 percent last year.

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