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Maui News

More Than Half At 1 Hawaii School Exempted From Vaccination

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HALIIMAILE — The number of vaccination exemptions at one Hawaii school has grown to include more than half of its students, according to a state report.

The Haleakala Waldorf School has received exemption claims from 129 out of 245 students, The Maui News reported Sunday.

Haleakala Waldorf's grade school and high school campuses in Kula and Makawao on Maui have the highest percentage of exemptions based on enrollment in the state.

Hawaii's public, private and charter schools are required to submit annual vaccination information to the state Department of Health by Jan. 1. The figures are tabulated by enrollment total and percentage of enrollment claiming either religious or medical exemption.

All of Haleakala Waldorf's exemptions are attributed to religion, the report said.

The figure may be the result of parents making vaccination decisions prior to enrollment or at a slower pace than the state schedule, said school administrator Kelly Brewer.

"When our parents are making choices similar to other schools in our area, and perhaps in Maui in general, by the time they've come to us, they've made the heart of their immunization choices," Brewer said.

Vaccination decisions are left to individual parents and family physicians, she said.

"The whole thing is a little bit of a hot topic right now, as far as what others are choosing to do and how it affects others in the community, we have no stance on this," she said.

Other Hawaii schools with high vaccination exemptions included Hawaii County's Malamalama Waldorf School/Kinderhale with 46.3% of 95 students and Kauai County's Alakai O Kauai Charter School with 40% of 130.

The reports come as measles continues to spread in the United States, with more 704 cases reported so far this year in 22 states. Most of the outbreaks are attributed to the spread of the disease among unvaccinated people.

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