Of the children enrolled in all Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, 15 have received medical exemptions and 127 have received religious exemptions from school-required vaccinations in the 2015-2016 school year.
The number of religious exemptions in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools has increased since the 2008-2009 school year, when 75 students received exemptions.
Jeff Nash, spokesperson for CHCCS, said some parents do not vaccinate their children due to religious reasons, which is an approved exception policy, but there are only a few of these exceptions.
“The vaccination rates are high in our school, but there is still room for improvement,” Nash said. “We are continuously educating students regarding safety.”
The Emerson Waldorf School, an independent pre-K to 12th grade school, has a student vaccination rate of approximately 62 percent, which is the lowest rate throughout Orange County public and private schools.
In 2013, 622 cases of the vaccine-preventable disease pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, were reported in North Carolina. 478 cases of the disease were people under the age of 20.
Judy Butler, the public health nursing supervisor for Orange County, said the issue of outbreak is not restricted locally, but is nationwide.
“There was a measles outbreak that affected several states that resulted from someone who was unvaccinated bringing measles from abroad,” Butler said.