Tag: religion

Why Are States Eliminating Religious Exemptions for Immunizations?

While all states continue to have medical exemptions to getting vaccinated, more and more are eliminating their religious exemptions.

New York is one of the states that is eliminating their religious exemptions for vaccines.
New York is one of the states that is eliminating their religious exemptions for vaccines.

Do you find that surprising?

Why Are States Eliminating Religious Exemptions for Immunizations?

If you do, it might change your mind once you realize that no major religion is actually against immunizations.

“One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them.”

The National Catholic Bioethics Center FAQ on the Use of Vaccines

In fact, nearly all religions actively support getting kids vaccinated and protected. That makes sense, as vaccines are safe, with few risks, and unvaccinated kids are at increased risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease and put other kids at risk too.

So why do folks get religious exemptions?

Connecticut is another state that is considering eliminating religious exemptions for vaccines.
Connecticut is another state that is considering eliminating religious exemptions for vaccines.

More and more, we are seeing parents abuse religious exemptions, using them as a personal belief exemption because they just don’t want to vaccinate their kids.

More on Religious Exemptions for Immunizations

Did Saint Lucia Quarantine a Scientology Cruise Ship Because of Measles?

We got news today that cruise ship has been quarantined in Saint Lucia.

The Chief Medical Officer of Saint Lucia, Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James is saying that they quarantined the ship because “there are cases of measles on the vessel.”

Which cruise ship?

Did Saint Lucia Quarantine a Scientology Cruise Ship Because of Measles?

She didn’t say…

Surprisingly though, it is really easy to figure out where cruise ships are and to see that there aren’t any ships from the big cruise lines in Saint Lucia right now.

Who is docked in Saint Lucia?

The Freewinds is a “440-foot motor vessel provided a distraction-free environment for parishioners to study and experience the highest level of spiritual counseling available in the Scientology religion.”

The SMV Freewinds, a cruise ship affiliated with the Church of Scientology.

Are Scientologists against vaccination? Would that explain measles cases on their ship, if it is indeed their ship under quarantine?

No, they claim that there is nothing in Scientology that is against vaccines.

Still, there are some rather famous anti-vaccine celebrities who are Scientologists, such as Jenna Elfman, Kirstie Alley, and some others.

Is this the ship under quarantine for measles?

More on Saint Lucia Cruise Ship Quarantine and Scientology

Ellen Degeneres on Vaccines

Is Ellen Degeneres anti-vaccine?

Ellen Degeneres paid tribute to her dad, who recently died.
Ellen and her dad.

No, but in paying tribute to her father, who died in 2018, some folks may have gotten that idea.

“He was 92 years old.  He had a good, long life. And he lived his life exactly how he wanted. He was Christian Science his entire life. He never had medicine his whole life. He never went to a doctor. I never had a vaccination. We never had medicine growing up and he lived to be 92. He was very proud of me.”

Ellen

Although Ellen did not get vaccines growing up, she is no longer a Christian Scientist and she is not anti-vaccine.

Ellen helps make sure all of her staff get flu shots each year!
Ellen helps make sure all of her staff get flu shots each year!

She even encourages folks to get a flu vaccine each year!

I want to make sure everyone stays healthy, so I put together a little message:

Flu season is here and it’s not to late to get a flu shot. They’re safe, easy, and they’re not scary at all.

Ellen

That doesn’t sound like someone who is anti-vaccine, does it?

Ellen Degeneres on Vaccines

Did Trump Lay the Groundwork to Ban Mandatory Vaccinations?

Have you heard that Donald Trump is going to ban mandatory vaccinations?

Or that he is going to ban childhood vaccinations all together?

Guess what?

That’s right, neither is true.

Did Trump Lay the Groundwork to Ban Mandatory Vaccinations?

To be sure, anti-vaccine folks were likely excited when Donald Trump was elected President.

Donald Trump's vaccine and autism tweet.

In addition to his tweets that tried to associate vaccines with autism, there were reports that he was going to set up a committee on vaccine safety that would be headed by Robert F Kennedy, Jr!

So the idea that he might try to ban vaccines was probably thought of as a safe bet for some.

Fortunately, it wasn’t.

Which vaccines kids need to go to daycare and school are mandated by state law. Despite what some folks might think, there are no federal vaccine mandates.

While there is a new a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the HHS Office for Civil Rights, it doesn't ban vaccinations.
While there is a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the HHS Office for Civil Rights, it doesn’t ban vaccinations.

And even with the announcement of a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), there is no ban on mandatory vaccinations across the United States.

“The creation of the new division will provide HHS with the focus it needs to more vigorously and effectively enforce existing laws protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom, the first freedom protected in the Bill of Rights.”

HHS Announces New Conscience and Religious Freedom Division

Could you interpret this is laying the groundwork for allowing religious exemptions to vaccines?

Again, vaccine mandates are set by state law, so no, you shouldn’t. Anyway, almost all states already allow religious exemptions to getting vaccinated, even though no major religion is actually against vaccinating and protecting kids from life-threatening vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Conscience protections apply to health care providers who refuse to perform, accommodate, or assist with certain health care services on religious or moral grounds.”

Conscience Protections for Health Care Providers

A proposed rule, Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority, that might have affected vaccines funded by Federal medical assistance programs, never took effect. In fact, the White House urged HHS to not finalize the rule after the Office of Management and Budget said they weren’t complying with necessary rules to get it implemented on time.

 “The AAP wishes to underscore its recognition of the important role of religion in the personal,spiritual, and social lives of many individuals, including health providers. Balancing that role with efforts to ensure children have appropriate access to needed health and social services is critical to meeting their health needs and supporting their health and well being. As HHS considers potential changes to regulations and policy guidance to encourage the provision of grants and contracts to faith-based organizations, we urge you to ensure that federal policy does not undermine children’s access to needed care and services.”

Collen Kraft, MD, FAAP, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Not surprisingly, major medical associations were against the proposed rule, and not just because of potential effects on vaccines, even though it wouldn’t have actually banned vaccines.

“The proposal would dramatically expand the discretion that religious or moral objectors have to refuse care without meaningful safeguards to ensure that the rights of those receiving care are protected.”

AMA on HHS should withdraw proposal on health care conscience rights

Sadly, as Kennedy and many anti-vaccine folks focus and what they think are toxins and poisons in vaccines, they seem to be ignoring the fact that Donald Trump is going to expose our kids to many more real toxins and poisons through his efforts to slash Clean Water Act protections and other EPA regulations.

At least we can look forward to no bans on mandatory vaccines, even though many parents continue to abuse existing vaccine exemptions, putting us all at risk.

More on Trump and Vaccine Policy