Having to get vaccinated to attend school isn’t a new idea.
In 1827, Boston mandated that all children attending public school must receive the smallpox vaccine.
Believe it or not, it wasn’t until the 1980-81 school year that there were laws in all 50 states mandating that children receive vaccinations before starting school. The smallpox vaccine wasn’t one of them…
A Legislative Guide to Advocating for Stronger Vaccine Laws
Not surprisingly, as vaccines did their job and rates of vaccine-preventable diseases dropped, politicians were able to weaken our vaccine laws.
Over just a few years, from 1998 to 2000, 15 states added personal belief vaccine exemptions!
We are now paying the price, with increases of vaccine-preventable diseases among clusters of intentionally unvaccinated children whose parents claim non-medical vaccine exemptions.
And that’s why we are seeing more and more states work to strengthen their vaccine laws.
Legislators who want to combat vaccine exemption abuse should enact laws that make it clear that:
- medical exemptions are based on ACIP guidelines, current accepted medical practice, and evidence-based medicine – not anecdotes
- medical exemptions should be reviewed and approved by the State Epidemiologist, Deputy State Epidemiologist, or other designated professionals at the health department
- religious exemptions, if included at all, should specifically exclude philosophical exemptions and must reflect a sincere religious belief
- philosophical exemptions, if included at all, should require some degree of education against the myths and misinformation that scares parents away from vaccinating their kids
- exempted students will be excluded from school during outbreaks
- exemptions should include a signed affidavit that is notarized
- exemptions should be recertified each year
- most exemptions are temporary
- a separate exemption application should be required for each vaccine
- exemption rates should be tracked at the school level and should be posted on school websites
Getting an exemption shouldn’t be easier than getting vaccinated!
Become an advocate and help get more kids vaccinated. You can also help stop bad vaccine laws from being enacted in your state, including some that would make it even easier to get an exemption.
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- VAXOPEDIA – How to Claim a Vaccine Exemption
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- VAXOPEDIA – Anti-Vaccine Points Refuted A Thousand Times
- AIM Position Statement on Personal Belief Exemptions from State Vaccination Mandates
- Infectious Diseases Society of America’s Policy on State Immunization Mandates
- The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society Statement Regarding Personal Belief Exemption from Immunization Mandates
- Support legislation to increase immunization coverage for children.
- 4 Ways You Can Become a Vaccine Advocate (And Why It Matters)
- Advocate for Stronger State-Level Vaccine Policies
- ACIP – Contraindications and Precautions
- CDC – Who Should NOT Get Vaccinated with these Vaccines?
- CDC – Improving Vaccination Coverage Fact Sheet
- AAP – Medical Versus Nonmedical Immunization Exemptions for Child Care and School Attendance
- State Vaccine Laws
- Mandatory Immunization Laws and the Role of Medical, Religious and Philosophical Exemptions
- Make a Difference for Your Cause: Strategies for Nonprofit Engagement in Legislative Advocacy
- Working Together For Improved Immunization Rates Across the Lifespan
- General Rules for Organizing for Legislative Advocacy
- Study – Immunization Mandates, Vaccination Coverage, and Exemption Rates in the United States
- The Effect of Childhood Vaccine Exemptions on Disease Outbreaks
- State mandates on immunization and vaccine-preventable diseases
- Mandatory Vaccinations: Precedent and Current Laws
- Immunizations Policy Issues Overview
- California Immunization Exemption Legislation
- Vaccine legislation in the USA – a state by state analysis
- Ouch! – Now that didn’t hurt: The Implementation of the Vaccination Bill SB 277 in Orange County
- California SB 277: New evidence that restricting nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine requirements works
- Why You Shouldn’t Shop for Medical Exemptions
- Study Examines Fallout of California Vaccine Exemption Law
- California vaccination rates – record high thanks to SB277
- Dear Colleague letter regarding guidelines for use of immunization exemptions
- Mississippi Medical Exemption Policy
- Praying, in Vain, for Exemption
- Study – Experiences With Medical Exemptions After a Change in Vaccine Exemption Policy in California
- Anti-vax doctors are granting bogus vaccine exemptions. How to make them think twice.
- Vaccination rate jumps in California after tougher inoculation law
- After a Debacle, How California Became a Role Model on Measles
- Pushback against immunization laws leaves some California schools vulnerable to outbreaks
- There is a Whole Cottage Industry of Doctors Helping Parents Skip Their Kids’ Vaccines
- More people left California in 2017 than moved here. Who they are and where they went
- Exemption Abuse – Too many kindergarteners aren’t getting vaccinated.
- Eliminating Personal Belief Exemptions for Vaccines
- Laws Limiting Vaccine Exemptions Work
- The problem of nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates
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