State figures show a rise in the rate of children in Buncombe County opting out of required vaccinations.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that about one in 20 kindergarten students at the beginning of this school year had opted out of immunization, a higher percentage than the previous year. Almost all claimed religious beliefs.
Figures from the state health department show the 5 percent rate for the county surrounding Asheville is much higher than the statewide figure of 1 percent of children not getting the shots.
State Sen. Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe, is sponsoring a bill to get rid of the state's religious exemption from immunizations.
Nurse Sue Ellen Morrison of Buncombe County Health and Human Services says parents have lost perspective about some of the deadly diseases that were once common.