- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico health officials have released the number of vaccine exemptions per school district for 2014, and Quemado tops the list.

The sparsely-populated district in western New Mexico has the highest rate of exemptions per 1,000 students at 40.3. The Santa Fe district has a rate of nearly 21, while the state’s largest district in Albuquerque stands at 7.2.

State law requires children be vaccinated to attend school, but it allows exemptions for medical and religious reasons. Schools have to maintain records of the child’s immunization records or their exemption forms.

The figures released Thursday show a total of 3,322 students had exemptions in 2014. That’s less than 1 percent of New Mexico’s school-age children.

Childhood vaccine has been a hot topic amid a measles outbreak that has hit more than 140 people across the nation.

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