Getting a religious exemption from immunizations will require a doctor’s signature.
Parents can still get a medical or religious exemption from required vaccinations for kids entering kindergarten, sixth grade, or 12th grade, but doctors will have to sign a certificate stating the parents have been informed of the risks of going unvaccinated.
Dr. Nirav Shah, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, says while the new law recognizes exemptions from vaccination, fears about their safety are unfounded.
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“Our view, our position, which is backed by science, is that vaccines are absolutely safe, and absolutely effective. Indeed, they are probably the safest and best thing you can do for your child’s health.”
Under the current law, parents didn’t have to visit a doctor for a religious exemption. Only a letter to their child’s school was required. Shah says by having to get a doctor’s signature, parents can be better informed about vaccinations.
Between 2009 and 2014, the number of Illinois parents requesting religious exemptions more than doubled.