Parents, physicians, and lawmakers debate on the safety and effectiveness of today’s vaccines. Some vaccination guidelines vary based on the type of vaccine that is required by the state that does not reflect the recommendations of pediatricians and public health entities. Each state has their own laws regarding vaccination requirements and exemptions. Exemptions can be based on three reasons: medical, religious, and philosophical.
All states allow a child exemption from one or more vaccines if they have written medical exemption. A licensed medical or osteopathic doctor can determine if the child is at risk by taking the vaccine, but they must often follow contraindication guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control.
All states except for Mississippi and West Virginia allow a child exemption to vaccination based on sincere religious belief. This exemption is based on the constitutional right to exercise religious beliefs. The state definition of religious belief varies as some states require specific membership and written proof from bonefide religions that prohibit invasive medical procedures.
Many states allow philosophical or conscientious exemptions, however legislation continues to change for this exemption. The efforts of lobbyists for pharmaceuticals, medical trades and public health industries want to eliminate or restrict this type of exemption.
One resource that has complied the state laws and vaccine requirements is the National Vaccine Information Center (http://www.nvic.org). They also keep advocates informed of changes in vaccine policies and legislation. All information on this site is for educational purposes and is not intended to be used for medical or legal advice.
Mimi Rothschild is a veteran homeschooling mother of 8, writer of a series of books called Cyberspace for Kids, and passionate advocate for children and education that is truly worthy of them. In 2001, Mimi and her late husband founded Learning By Grace, a leading provider of online Christian homeschooling Academies.