An Associated Press examination of states' vaccination records and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that many states are seeing increases in the rate of religious exemptions claimed for kindergartners.
Sabrina Rahim doesn't practice any particular faith, but she had no problem signing a letter declaring that because of her deeply held religious beliefs, her 4-year-old son should be exempt from the vaccinations required to enter preschool.
She is among a small but growing number of parents around the country who are claiming religious exemptions to avoid vaccinating their children. "Do I think that religious exemptions have become the default? Absolutely," said Dr. Paul Offit, head of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital in
But public health officials say it takes only a few people to cause an outbreak that can put large numbers of lives at risk.