RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – For many families an important part of the school to do list is getting vaccinated. State law says certain vaccines are mandatory for children starting kindergarten and students going into 7th grade.

The immunizations vary for kids according to age and cover things like mumps, measles and meningitis. In North Carolina you can only be exempted from these shots for medical or religious reasons.

“There [are] areas of the country that are a little more lenient. They allow opting out just for a philosophical exemption, and we don’t allow that in North Carolina,” said JoAnn Douglas, immunization coordinator for Wake County.

The Centers for Disease Control keeps track of exemptions in all states. While the number of exemptions are declining nationally, North Carolina is one of 11 states that have seen an increase in recent years. Parents have to request and be approved for an exemption. If approved, school systems have discretion to prevent those students from coming to class.

“Children that are not completely immunized according to North Carolina rules and laws may be excluded from school if there were to be an outbreak of disease, until that was concluded,” said Douglas.

If you need help getting vaccines for your child, you may qualify for the Vaccines for Children Program.

“Medicaid eligible, uninsured children, under insured children under the age of 19, they can have the doses at no cost to them,” said Douglas.

For more information on what exact vaccines are needed for your child this year, click here.