School Law Bulletin #2004/10

Religious Exemptions to North Carolina’s Childhood Immunization Requirements: What Constitutes a Bona Fide Religious Belief?

Friday, October 1, 2004

In all fifty states and the District of Columbia, school-aged children must be immunized against certain diseases as a condition of admission to public or private school Forty- eight states, however, permit religious exemptions to vacci- nation, and eighteen allow exemptions based on parents’ philosophical beliefs. Three states have “informed refusal” requirements for parents who seek exemptions on the basis of philosophical or religious beliefs. All states permit or re- quire schools to either exclude unvaccinated children during outbreaks or compel them to be vaccinated.

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