Yellow Springs went from most opposed to childhood vaccines in Ohio to among most receptive

Moral exemptions dropped from 29% to zero

Seven years after the newspaper reported that Yellow Springs Exempted Village School District had more kindergarteners exempted from childhood vaccines on moral grounds than any other districts in the state, the number dropped last year to zero.

This comes at a time when many local schools are seeing a growing moral opposition to childhood vaccinations, a recent Springfield News-Sun investigation found.

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Ohio Department of Health data shows that the percentage of Yellow Springs kindergarteners whose parents filed moral or religious exemptions has decreased steadily from 29% in the school year ending in 2015, to 19% in the school year ending in 2018, to none in the school year ending in 2022.

Josué Salmerón, Yellow Springs village manager, deferred to the district in regard to youth vaccinations, but he noted, “Our community was very receptive of COVID vaccines, and this sentiment might apply to other vaccines.”

Yellow Springs Superintendent Terri Holden said she could not say exactly why exemption rates went down significantly over the years, but added, “Perhaps ... the pandemic had parents rethink their choices about immunizations and vaccinations.”

Holden said the district this year, which is not included in the recent ODH data set, also had a real push for either proof of immunization or a waiver at all grade levels.

Greene County Public Health officials said they no longer do childhood immunizations.

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