Vaccination refusal threatens schools
Health officials say it only takes one person to spread a severe virus and now that many parents are opting their children out of vaccinations for religious reasons, they could be putting others at risk.
"If you're in an environment where you're in close contact with other people such as a school environment, you're vaccinating not only protects yourself but you're protecting those around you," said Rebecca Snow, Immunization Coordinator for the Southwest Health District.
Dougherty County school officials say they can't stop parents from refusing to vaccinate their children.
If they're opting out for medical reasons, they have to provide a doctor's note but if it's a religious choice, the only thing parents need is a pen to sign a waiver.
This year there has only been one parent to refuse vaccination for the child because of religious reasons.
"I think it's obvious that our parents in this school district are concerned about the welfare of their kids and that they want them to be healthy and to be immunized," said Jack Willis, Dougherty County School System Administrative Asst. for Support Services.
School officials are required to follow state law when it comes to vaccines, but they add the shots not only protect their family but the community as well.
"It's much safer to vaccinate your child than to come in contact with preventable diseases," said Rebecca Snow.