Vaccine exemptions in the US have helped foster the conditions for measles outbreaks across the country — so is it finally time to eliminate them?

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In an unvaccinated population, one person with measles can infect 12 to 18 others. That’s way higher than other viruses like Ebola, HIV, or SARS.

Even though all 50 states have legislation requiring vaccines for students entering school, almost every state allows exemptions for people with religious beliefs against immunizations, and 18 states grant philosophical exemptions for those opposed to vaccines because of personal or moral beliefs.

A 2018 analysis found that states allowing both religious and philosophical exemptions were associated with a 2.3% decrease in MMR vaccine rates and a 1.5% increase in both total exemptions and nonmedical exemptions.