Healthy Kids    

Information on vaccine exemptions

Here are some numbers of the number of students not vaccinated during the 2010-2012 school year for you to consider:

Dutchess County has 57822 students with 468 exempt.*

Orange County has 91087 students with 715 exempt.*

Rockland County has 74333 students with 1046 exempt.*

Sullivan County has 13560 students with 155 exempt.*

Ulster County has 30451 students with 736 exempt. *

*2010-2011 School Immunization Survey provided by the New York State DOH

According to the survey, the reasons why parents would refuse vaccination for their children are medical or religious. Some parents are concerned over the link of vaccinations to autism, which can be more thoroughly explained here.

If you’re unsure about vaccinations, make sure you obtain all the details you need to make an informed decision. Discuss your choice with your physician. Not all pediatric practices will treat children where parents refuse immunizations.

For more info on vaccine exemptions, click here.

“We try and find out why a parent is against having their child vaccinated,” says Jamee Goldstein, DO, a pediatrician with Monroe Pediatrics. “I know there is a concern about the link between autism and vaccinations, especially the use of Merisol in vaccines, a mercury preservative.

Most schools require parents to complete and notarize the NYS Department of Health exemption forms. But the approval process is not uniform from school-to-school. Cornwall-on-Hudson School Nurse Pamela Glynn says, “The exemptions are given on a case-by-case basis and are reviewed by the principal.” According to Ellen Noecker, school nurse in Liberty, the forms are reviewed by their superintendent. And for students at the Fishkill Elementary School the forms are reviewed by their board.

Even if your family does not have health insurance, your child can be vaccinated. The New York State Department of Health Immunization Program’s goal is to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases by making sure children and adults receive the vaccines they need. The program provides access to vaccines for all children. Contact the Bureau of Immunization at 518-473-4437 or New York State Vaccines for Children program at or 800-543-7468 for more information.


Claudia M. Caruana is a freelance health and medical writer who lives in Columbia County.