By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – Routine childhood vaccines are required to stay in school, but more and more parents are opting out for what they call personal or religious reasons.

Now, the head of the FDA says the federal government may have to step in if states don’t strengthen their vaccine laws.

READ MORE: I-Team: Judge Denies State Police Request To Delay Vaccine Mandate

Seventeen states allow families to skip vaccines for personal beliefs. Forty-seven states, including Massachusetts, allow religious exemptions.

READ MORE: 'He Never Would Tell Us': Gardner Museum Hopeful For New Info After Death Of Connecticut Mobster

A child gets a vaccine. (WBZ-TV photo)

As a result, we’re seeing outbreaks of potentially deadly diseases that were once eradicated, like measles. In fact, there have been at least 127 measles cases in 10 states so far this year.

In an interview with CNN, the FDA commissioner said some states have such wide exemptions that they’re putting the nation at risk.

MORE NEWS: 'Excited For The Future': Team IMPACT Celebrates 10 Years At Gillette Stadium

He said the federal government could mandate rules about what can and what cannot be considered a legitimate exemption.

Dr. Mallika Marshall