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To Vaccinate, Or Not?

While there are issues with the MMR vaccine; as parent in the US there is almost no choice as to whether to receive the MMR shot. You simply cannot attend a school (public or private) without record of the shot. I'm looking for a case where failure to vaccinate lead to state action against the parents, as I recall there was a case like that in the news a while back.

For the record, I do not buy the link between autism and the MMR vaccination, per se. I am much more concerned by the possibility that the possibiity that thimerosal is a factor. The news today is that the MMR scare in Britian may lead to a measles epidemic.

The long-running controversy over the MMR vaccination turned unexpectedly into an extraordinary public battle of words yesterday between two doctors responsible for the research paper which began the scare five years ago. Andrew Wakefield and Simon Murch, both gastroenterologists at the Royal Free medical school in London, have taken very different paths since their paper was published in the Lancet in February 1998.

Dr Wakefield continued public backing for his hypothesis that the MMR triple jab could be responsible for rising rates of autism among children has made him a hero to many parents seeking a reason for their children's distressing condition, but rendered him virtually a pariah to most of the medical establishment.

In contrast, Dr Murch and his team have kept a low profile.

All that changed yesterday, however, when Dr Murch published a strongly worded letter in the Lancet stating that there was no evidence of a link and warning of the likelihood of a measles epidemic because of the low rate of vaccination, which is down to 61% in some parts of London.

Read the whole story in the The Guardian.

Update: Tanya has a lot more information on your choices. As noted in the comments here it's not just schools who are looking at your immunization records.


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Comments (5)

" You simply cannot attend ... (Below threshold)

" You simply cannot attend a school (public or private) without record of the shot."
Actually, this is false. There are exemptions.
Philosophical Exemption: The following 19 states allow exemption to vaccination based on philosophical beliefs: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.
Religious Exemption: All states allow a religious exemption to vaccination except Mississippi, West Virginia.
All states offer medical exemptions.

I had the right sentiments ... (Below threshold)

I had the right sentiments in the first sentence "almost no choice". I should have used a simillar terminology and noted the exemptions in the second sentance.

Having not dealt with this yet, I would imagine that were an exemption to be excercised there would be some level of effort required to do so. I am also curious how the schools in those states handle children not vaccinated.

In states that allow philos... (Below threshold)

In states that allow philosophical exemptions, it's as easy as filing a form. However, in many states, it's "all or nothing," meaning, you cannot object to certain vaccines, you must object to them all (which is ridiculous, IMO).
As far as a religious exemption, all states handle this differently. Some have broad statutes that inlclude personal beliefs and others go as far as to require you to belong to a church with written tenets that would prohibit vaccination. It's important to know the laws of your individual state when writing your exemption letter. It's also very important that if you choose to take a religious exemption you be prepared to defend it.
I'd be happy to provide links if you want to research this further. I believe that all parents should educate themselves before they vaccinate (or make any other parenting decisions). Informed choice should be just that - informed.

A middle ground between hav... (Below threshold)

A middle ground between having the MMR and refusing it is to break the vaccine into three separate shots and spread them over time. Some parents think that is safer.

BTW, I am agnostic on the MMR/autism issue.

It goes beyond schools - Bo... (Below threshold)

It goes beyond schools - Boy Scouts / Girl Scouts, county and city recreational programs, almost anything organized that involves kids in a group will require the proof of immunizations. I assume they make exeptions on an individual basis. Both of my kids had all the shots - and being a military brat, I had way more than the average number of immunizations as my father dragged me around the globe.






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