1654. Increase of Religious Exemptions for Immunization Requirements in New York State
Session: Poster Abstract Session: Programmatic Adjustments to Improve Vaccine Coverage
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Room: SDCC Poster Hall F-H

Increase of Religious Exemptions for Immunization Requirements in New York State.

J. Shaw, B.Tserenpuntsag, A. Imdad, D. Blog, N. Halsey, and D. Easton

Background: The rates of exemptions for immunization requirements were reported to be low and stable in states without personal belief exemptions. As rates of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) declined, concerns about importance and safety of vaccination eroded public confidence resulting in vaccine refusal and outbreaks of VPDs. The objective of this study was to describe rates of religious vaccination exemptions over time and the association with pertussis in New York State.

Methods: New York State Department of Health records were reviewed by county in 2000-2010 for children with religious vaccination exemptions attending kindergarten through grade 12 and children with confirmed or probable pertussis.

Results: Exemption data was available from all 62 counties. Pertussis incidence reporting excluded New York City. The overall mean ± SD prevalence of religious exemptions for one or more vaccines in 2000-2010 was 0.63%±0.84%. Overall exemption rates increased significantly from 0.23% in 2000 to 0.41% in 2010 (p<0.05). The prevalence of religious vaccination exemptions varied greatly among counties and increased by more than 100% in 31 counties during the study period. Counties with exemption prevalence rates of ≥1% reported a higher incidence of pertussis, 27.16 per 100,000 when compared to counties with lower exemption rates, 17.65 per 100,000, p<0.05, graph.

Conclusion: The prevalence of religious exemptions varies among different NYS counties and increased during last decade. Counties with high exemptions had overall higher rates of reported pertussis. More studies are needed to determine the impact of vaccine exemptions on vaccine preventable diseases in NYS.

Jana Shaw, MD, MPH1, Boldtsetseg Tserenpuntsag, PhD2, Aamer Imdad, MD1, Debra Blog, MD, MPH2, Neal Halsey, MD3 and Delia Easton, PhD2, (1)Pediatrics, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY, (2)NYSDOH,Bureau of Immunization, Albany, NY, (3)Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD


J. Shaw, None

B. Tserenpuntsag, None

A. Imdad, None

D. Blog, None

N. Halsey, None

D. Easton, None

Findings in the abstracts are embargoed until 12:01 a.m. PST, Oct. 17th with the exception of research findings presented at the IDWeek press conferences.