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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Allegheny County Health Department is disputing the findings of a new study on non-medical exemptions from childhood vaccinations.

The study by the Public School of Science labeled the Pittsburgh area as one of 15 “hot spots” in the United States where more than 5 percent of all kindergarten-age children are not vaccinated.

According to the study, there were 424 non-medical exemptions for kindergartners in Allegheny County during the 2015-16 school year.

The Allegheny County Health Department responded to the release of the study Thursday night, sharing its own data on non-medical exemptions for kindergartners over the past four school years:

  • 2014-15: 322 non-medical exemptions out of 13,305 enrolled kindergartners (2.4 percent)
  • 2015-16: 236 non-medical exemptions out of 12,806 enrolled kindergartners (1.8 percent)
  • 2016-17: 300 non-medical exemptions out of 12,704 enrolled kindergartners (2.4 percent)
  • 2017-18: 267 non-medical exemptions out of 12,555 enrolled kindergartners (2.1 percent)

The county health department also shared data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which reported 212 non-medical exemptions for the 2015-16 school year. The county health department said the discrepancy between the county and state data is to late reporting schools.

Pennsylvania is one of 18 states in the U.S. that permit non-medical exemptions from childhood vaccinations due to philosophical beliefs.

The study was published in the journal PLOS Medicine.