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Religious Exemptions In Ashland, Oregon Bring Low Rates Of Vaccinations, Prompting Study Request

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ASHLAND, Ore. (AP) – Southern Oregon University and Jackson County health officials are hoping to get money for a study of Ashland's low rate of child vaccinations, due largely to religious exemptions.

In 2010, 25 percent of Ashland students didn't get all their vaccines, more than double the percentage in 2001. Of the 3,117 students enrolled in public and private schools, 777 claimed the religious exemption –- the highest rate in the state.

Those numbers prompted a request to study why that's happening. Jackson County commissioners will decide Wednesday whether to provide the $10,000 funding.

The SOU Research Center will use the money to conduct interviews with parents, compile the data and file the finished study by June 2013. It will include an evaluation on the outreach team's effectiveness in helping to boost vaccination rates.

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