More than 3,500 unvaccinated students attend school in Alabama

More than 3,500 unvaccinated students attend school in Alabama
In the 2017-2018 school year, over 3,500 unvaccinated students attend public and private schools in Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). (Source: Audrey Peine)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - In the 2017-2018 school year, more than 3,500 unvaccinated students attended public and private schools in Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

“All public school children have to have the measles vaccine, along with other vaccines to enter into public school,” Tom Salter, senior communication officer for Montgomery Public Schools, said.

However, the state of Alabama does allow students to be exempted from receiving vaccinations for both religious and medical reasons.

“There are two exceptions. One is for religious reasons, and the other is for medical reasons. There are some children who can’t take the vaccine for various reasons,” Salter said.

Students who attend either public or private schools in the state are required to present documentation showing that they have received vaccinations for diphtheria, measles, mumps, pertussis, polio, rubella, tetanus and varicella. That is unless they have a religious or medical exemption.

The latest numbers from the Alabama Department of Public Health show that roughly 320 public and private school students received medical exemptions for vaccinations for the 2017-2018 school year.

The Alabama Department of Public Health also released the numbers of public and private school students per county who received religious exemptions for vaccinations for the 2017-2018 school year. Here’s a look at the religious exemption numbers for the counties in our viewing area:

Autauga- 58

Barbour- 5

Bullock- N/A

Butler- 0

Chambers- 6

Chilton- 35

Coffee- 38

Conecuh- 0

Coosa- 0

Covington- 15

Crenshaw- 2

Dale- 19

Dallas- 7

Elmore- 54

Escambia- 11

Geneva- 12

Henry- 17

Houston- 87

Lee- 68

Lowndes- 68

Macon- N/A

Marengo- 3

Monroe- 14

Montgomery- 73

Perry- 0

Pike- 10

Russell- 13

Tallapoosa- 29

Wilcox- 1

If you do not see your county on the above list, click here.

So far, there has been one confirmed case of measles in Alabama, but according to the ADPH, there are currently 32 open measles investigations in the state.

Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.