MONTPELIER — Parents in America’s least devout state may be forced to find religion if they want to exempt their childen from getting vaccinated.
Vermont earlier this year became the first state to remove a philosophical exemption allowing parents to skip the immunizations required to enroll in school, but kept the religious exemption in place.
There has been talk among friends of starting a new religion, Venner said, ‘‘a religion that says we’ll pretty much have a choice.’’
As it stands, Vermont is not a hotbed of religious fervor. A study released in May by the Pew Research Center found that 37 percent of Vermonters described themselves as ‘‘unaffiliated’’ with any religion — the highest in the country. Time magazine reported last year on poll results from the Gallup organization in which 22 percent of Vermonters — the lowest in the country — described themselves as ‘‘very religious.’’
Four percent of Vermont’s schoolchildren in kindergarten through 12th grade took advantage of the philosophical exemption last year, according to state figures. Only 0.2 percent used the religious exemption.