Believe it or not, parents have been jailed for not vaccinating their kids.
In a recent Michigan case, a mother was jailed for refusing a court order to vaccinate her son. The court had agreed with the boy’s father that the child should be vaccinated and protected.
So this case was not just about vaccines, but about divorced parents who disagreed about how to care for their child…
Can You Go to Jail for Not Vaccinating Your Kids?
Although it isn’t common, historically, there have been other stories of parents going to jail for not vaccinating their kids.
Recently, in 2007, parents were warned that they might be sent to jail for not vaccinating their kids. The problem wasn’t just vaccines though, as these parents could have gotten exemptions. And they had several months to do so before the Judge gave his warning…
No one went to jail in Maryland in 2007.
Have you ever heard of John (Jack) Marsh?
In 1946, he was put in jail and his daughter, Betty Jane, was taken by child welfare services so that she could get a smallpox vaccine. His son Marlin was also to be taken, but couldn’t be found.
What happened next? We don’t know. That was the last report about John Marsh and his family.
We do know a lot about what happened before this though…
John Marsh’s story started nearly 12 years earlier!
In 1934, he spent 7 months in jail because he wouldn’t vaccinate his children Daniel and Lorna. As in 1946, those children were taken and vaccinated and Marsh was released.
He was also put in prison in 1937 over getting his son Eugene vaccinated.
Why was he against vaccinating his kids?
He believes that a smallpox vaccine caused two of his nieces to go blind. One of them became blind about two weeks after getting her smallpox vaccine. Two weeks later, her sister also became blind. And then another.
Even though two weren’t even vaccinated, the family still thinks that they all suffered from some kind of vaccine injury.
“The infrequency of eye involvement following vaccination is very striking when we consider the number of vaccinations, the doubtful handling that many receive, and the ease with which infection may be transferred.”Arthur J. Bedell, M.D., F.A.C.S. on Multiple Vaccination of the Eyelids
Interestingly, ocular vaccinia is a known, rare complication of getting a smallpox vaccine. It could occur if you touched the site of vaccination and then touched your eye, and so could also occur if you were in close contact with someone who was recently vaccinated, as the Marsh sisters.
Unlike these girls though, the infection typically only involves one eye, would cause lesions suspicious for vaccinia in or near the eye, which were never mentioned, and often leaves obvious lid deformities.
And doctors did not believe that those girls had a reaction to the vaccine.
Are there any other cases of parents going to jail instead of vaccinating their kids?
Could any of this happen now?
We still have truancy laws and laws about kids getting vaccinated…
But no one wants parents to go to jail over vaccination decisions.
And no one wants kids to be forced to get vaccines.
We also don’t want kids to get sick and disease to spread because of ignorance and unnecessary fear of vaccines.
Unfortunately, anti-vax folks create a viscous cycle.
As they scare more and more parents, they create pockets of susceptible children, and larger and larger outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, which eventually require stricter vaccine requirements and mandates to control.
More on Jail and Vaccines
- Vaccine Schedules from the 1940s to 2019
- A Legislative Guide to Advocating for Stronger Vaccine Laws
- Abuse of Vaccine Exemptions
- The History of Vaccine Exemptions
- Responses to New Vaccine Laws
- The Fatal Flaw in the Anti-Vaccine Movement
- Choose to Stop Spreading Anti-Vaccine Propaganda
- More Questions to Help You Become a Vaccine Skeptic
- Michigan mom jailed – not because of vaccines UPDATE
- False balance in reporting the case of a local mother jailed for contempt of court for reneging on an agreement to vaccinate her child
- What the Supreme Court Has Said About Mandating Vaccines for School: Jacobson v. Massachusetts
- Vaccines and the Law
- The trachoma menace in the United States, 1897-1960.
- The Ocular Complications of Smallpox and Smallpox Immunization
- MMWR – Surveillance Guidelines for Smallpox Vaccine (vaccinia) Adverse Reactions
- Maryland Parents Told to Have Children Immunized