GRAND JUNCTION, COLO. (KKCO)_ More Coloradans are opting out of vaccinating their school-aged kids according to a new survey released this week from the Associated Press.
Colorado comes as the second highest in the country where parents refuse to get their children vaccinated, only second to Alaska.
While Colorado students are required to get the necessary vaccinations to attend classes, it's one of 20 states which allow parents to exempt their children for personal reasons. Something officials believe may be a factor in the survey results.
Another factor could be a one-time theory of a possible link between vaccinations and autism. But doctors say its a theory that's been disproved.
"There was a study done that linked the MMR vaccine to autism but it turns out that the data was made up," says Dr. Michael Whistler with Western Colorado Pediatrics.
Overall, the study found that more parents are seeking exemptions so their kids can skip some of the shots.
But overall public health officials are concerned over the growing numbers, which they say could lead to outbreaks of diseases like measles and whooping cough.
States with the highest exemption rates are in the West and Upper Midwest. Alaska has the highest opt-out rate at 9 percent.