Medical and religious vaccination exemptions are allowed in South Carolina, but the state does not consider objections to vaccines for moral or personal beliefs. Special exemptions are issued for students who transfer to other schools and do not yet have documentation of previous vaccinations, but they are valid for only 30 days.
All states allow some type of medical exemption. In South Carolina, these exemptions are determined by licensed health care providers who issue certificates that exempt children from certain vaccines, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
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Parents and guardians of students are required to sign and notarize forms for religious exemptions. The forms can be obtained through the particular county’s public health department. Vaccination exemptions are allowed for children from day care through 12th grade. Immunization requirements for college and university students in South Carolina are set by each institution.
Guidelines on religious exemptions made them easier to obtain in 2012 when the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control changed the wording on certificates that needed to be signed by a parent or guardian, according to The Rutherford Institute
Earlier requirements stated that the family had to be associated with a “recognized religious denomination in which the tenets and practices of the denomination conflict with immunizations.” A complaint from a mother of a kindergartener who did not belong to a religious denomination led the state health department to amend its guidelines and allow people to sign a vaccination exemption statement that it conflicted with the parent’s religious beliefs.
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Some states have tightened vaccination exemptions to prevent the possible spread of outbreaks. GreenvilleOnline reported that South Carolina
was among 17 states that fell below the acceptable 90 percent rate for measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines in preschool, according to a 2015 report from the Trust for America’s Health. South Carolina’s rate was 89.2 percent, compared with a 96 percent rate for neighboring North Carolina. The average was 91.1 percent nationally, according to the analysis.
However, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control reported no cases of measles since 1999 at the time.
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