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With a looming deadline in Connecticut, parents still asked for religious vaccine exemptions last year

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Parents in Connecticut are still asking schools to give their students religious exemptions to vaccines — in some places, at a higher rate than ever.

Religious exemptions skyrocketed at a few small private schools during the 2020-2021 school year, according to state Department of Public Health data.

For example, nearly four out of five students at the Heritage Baptist Academy in Wallingford now have the exemption. But fewer schools had exemption rates over 10% than during the previous school year.

The state counts exemptions to common vaccines, like the measles, mumps and rubella shot, but not to COVID-19.

Connecticut banned religious vaccine exemptions last year, one of the first states to do so. Students who already have exemptions can still use them, but starting this fall, the state won’t offer new religious vaccine exemptions.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.