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Arizona Official: Exemptions Reducing Immunization Rates

The Arizona Department of Health Services director says increased use of exemptions has Arizona's immunization coverage rates continuing to fall.

Dr. Cara Christ says high immunization rates help prevent outbreaks of dangerous diseases.

According to a recent blog post by Christ, over 5,000 Arizona kindergartners are at risk of contracting measles during a statewide outbreak.

Arizona law requires that children attending school or child care obtain certain vaccines, unless exempted by a doctor for medical purposes, or by a parent for personal reasons.

Christ says the percentage of students exempt from one or more vaccines rose to 5.4 percent from 4.9 percent for kindergarten and to 5.4 percent from 5.1 percent for 6th grade.

She says her department is working with health care providers on ways to raise immunization rates.

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