Monday, September 28, 2009

Vaccinations: Legal Exemptions to Vaccination

Reprinted from National Vaccine Information Center.

Medical, philosophical, religious or personal belief exemptions are worded differently in each state. To use an exemption for your child, you must know specifically what the law says in your state. Here is a list of exemptions and information on each one. To read this entire article, go to the link below:
http://www.know-vaccines.org/exemption-legal.html


Philosophical Exemption:

The following 18 states allow exemption to vaccination based on philosophical, personal or conscientiously held beliefs: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

Religious Exemption:

All states allow a religious exemption to vaccination except Mississippi and West Virginia.

The religious exemption is intended for people who hold a sincere religious belief opposing vaccination to the extent that if the state forced vaccination, it would be an infringement on their right to exercise their religious beliefs. Some state laws define religious exemptions broadly to include personal religious beliefs, similar to personal philosophical beliefs. Other states require an individual who claims a religious exemption to be a member of The First Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science) or another bonafide religion whose written tenets include prohibition of invasive medical procedures such as vaccination. (This kind of language has been ruled unconstitutional when it has been challenged in state Supreme Courts.) Some laws require a signed affidavit from the pastor or spiritual advisor of the parent exercising religious exemption that affirms the parents' sincere religious belief about vaccination, while others allow the parent to sign a notarized waiver. Prior to registering your child for school, you must check your state law to verify what proof may be needed.

Due to differences in state laws, the National Vaccine Information Center does not recommend or provide a prewritten waiver for religious exemption because it may not conform with what is required in your state, and may actually draw attention to your child, and you may be singled out and challenged.

Medical Exemptions:

All 50 states allow medical exemption to vaccination. Proof of medical exemption must take the form of a signed statement by a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) that the administering of one or more vaccines would be detrimental to the health of an individual. Most doctors follow the AAP and CDC guidelines. Most states do not allow Doctors of Chiropractic (D.C.) to write medical exemptions to vaccination.

Proof of Immunity:

Some states will allow exemptions to vaccination for certain diseases if proof of immunity can be shown to exist. Immunity can be proven if you or your child have had the natural disease or have been vaccinated. You have to check your state laws to determine which vaccines in your state can be exempted if proof of immunity is demonstrated.

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