Those living in Montana can claim a vaccination exemption with their public schools on religious grounds with the submission of a notarized form.
The state's exemption form, HES-113, must be signed and notarized yearly.
Families may also seek medical exemptions from their physicians for contraindications, meaning adverse reactions a patient is likely to have by taking the shots.
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Students with a vaccination exemptions can be excluded from school whenever they are thought to have a disease or have been exposed to a disease, according to state law
The National Vaccine Information Center website includes
a comprehensive guide to Montana vaccination exemptions. That website noted that the state’s religious exemption includes sincerely held personal religious beliefs and is not limited to established traditional religion. The law also says that anyone who falsely claims a religious exemption is subject to penalty.
The Montana Legislature added two vaccine requirements starting in the fall: chicken pox and pertussis, which is also known as whooping cough, the Helena Independent Record reported
. In 2014, Montana had the highest rate of reported pertussis cases in the nation, the newspaper said.
Before the changes, Montana was among five states that didn’t require a pertussis booster for students entering middle school, the Independent Record said. Montana is the last state to require a chickenpox booster.
Vaccination requirements and exemptions vary from state to state. All states offer exemptions for medical reasons, such as children with weak immune systems or allergies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures
. Almost all states grant waivers for people who have religious beliefs against immunizations, and 20 states offer philosophical exemptions.
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