IOWA CITY — Health officials in Johnson County say more parents are opting against vaccinations for their kids, a trend that has continued for more than a decade.
“All of my grandkids have been [been vaccinated],” said Doug Beardsley, director of Johnson County Public Health. “It’s very important to get it done.”
The most recent data shows 329 kids, K-12, have opted out of the minimum required immunization panel in Johnson County’s schools. The majority have been for religious reasons, although there is no way to prove parents are being completely honest.
State law requires students to get a minimum panel of vaccinations to protect them from illnesses like whooping cough. Parents can opt their kids out of some or all required vaccinations for medical or religious reasons.
Additional data show Johnson County has a greater percentage of religious exemptions than the state average. However, they fall below the state average in terms of medical exemptions, which have to be signed be a doctor.
Officials are urging parents to get their kids vaccinated, arguing the vaccinations do no harm. Those without health insurance can seek immunization at the Johnson County Public Health building.