Vaccine Exemption Shenanigans?

August 30, 2010 by
Filed under: News, Parents' Pages, Vaccine Exemptions 

Recently we’ve come across multiple examples of local authorities messing with vaccine exemptions. Nothing new, of course, about the media publishing stories which leave out the availability of exemptions when they remind parents of the vaccine “requirements” for school. But there does seem to be something new about counties and school districts coming up with their own paperwork, sometimes in contradiction to state exemption requirements.

For the first time, insidevaccines is asking you to tell us your stories. Has someone given you a hard time when you applied for a vaccine exemption for your kids? Insisted that you need a signature from your pastor? Asked you to sign a form admitting that you are risking the lives of your children and other people’s children? Or?

Comment here, or, if you prefer, send them via e-mail to healthykids@insidevaccines. com

Please share this query on forums and anywhere else you can think of.  The more the merrier.

We will not publish anyone’s stories, but we may provide a list of states where problems have arisen and a general description of the types of harassment parents have encountered.

Thanks in advance.


16 Comments on Vaccine Exemption Shenanigans?

  1. AnneS on Mon, 30th Aug 2010 7:21 am
  2. Yes, we got a hard time. The state of NJ has some very general instructions, none of which say you have to quote scripture.
    However, 6 months after I submitted the religious exemption to the school nurse, I was told that the request was not valid because it did not contain scripture.

  3. admin on Mon, 30th Aug 2010 8:00 am
  4. Thanks! Was this recent or several years ago?

  5. Michael on Tue, 31st Aug 2010 10:57 am
  6. Though New Jersey vaccination statutes only grant exemptions to people “bona fide” religious beliefs against vaccination, the State Department of Health and Senior Services has an unofficial policy of not questioning religious exemptions as long as the statement makes references to religion. Scripture is not neccessary.

  7. Jennifer on Tue, 7th Sep 2010 10:52 am
  8. I’m in NY and it’s the worst state in the US. I immediately sought out an advocate to help me make it through the system. My letter did contain scripture at the suggestion of the advocate. I wouldn’t have thought to put it in I don’t think. Anyway, the only stress was that they received it all in July and I finally got my approval a week ago… with the unlawful ‘exclusion agreement’ that NO ONE should sign. Only the dept of health can determine if and for how long your child ‘needs’ to be out of school due to an outbreak. I’m not signing it.

  9. admin on Tue, 7th Sep 2010 7:59 pm
  10. Here is an example of the sort of problem the blog is discussing:

    In the article:
    Parents must fill out a form provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health Immunization, which is available at each school for their children to be exempt. Within the form, parents must cite one of three reasons — religious, medical or personal — for forgoing immunization.

    Religious and medical reasons must be signed either by a religious leader or a doctor. For a personal reason, parents must provide a strong argument surpassing a blanket “no,” said Sharon Howard, Norman Public Schools nurse.

    States cannot require the signature of a religious leader for a religious exemption in any state. Here is a link to the actual form for Oklahoma:

    It says under the signature line: “religious leader or parent”

    The misinformation that is spread around by people in positions of authority is disgusting.

  11. MinorityView on Sat, 11th Sep 2010 7:59 am
  12. We are also seeing dirty dealing from a hospital in Colorado which is requiring staff to have a clergy sign their religious exemption:

  13. Chuck on Tue, 28th Sep 2010 8:35 am
  14. In Virginia, we only have medical and religious exemptions. BIG HOWEVER, the state Supreme Court has already ruled that you do not need to prove any religion at all as that is considered government benefits that would not be available to all citizens within the commonwealth.
    The US Constitutions also frowns very highly on religious persecution of individuals by government entities. Just food for thought.
    We fill out the form, are proactive in all sickness reduction, and no government entity knows what (if any) religion we may or may not be.

  15. Twitted by XtyMiller on Mon, 11th Oct 2010 6:01 pm
  16. […] This post was Twitted by XtyMiller […]

  17. Allison on Mon, 11th Oct 2010 6:39 pm
  18. I am from Tennessee and I have a two year old son who is unvaccinated. I am looking for some information on how difficult/easy TN makes it for someone to enroll their unvaccinated child in public school. Can anyone help me??

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Christine, Inside Vaccines. Inside Vaccines said: are schools playing games with exemptions? […]

  19. Julia Frizzell on Fri, 22nd Oct 2010 1:25 pm
  20. I am the parent of a six yr old currently enrolled in first grade in an Indianapolis school. I have been battling with her school since last yr over her immunization record. She has had about half of her vaccinations and I do not intend to follow up with any future ones. My personal beliefs and convictions have changed since I had my daughter, and I feel it is my RIGHT as her parent to decline routine vaccinations.
    I was told initially to submit a letter stating “religious” exemption to the school nurse, seeing as how that was my only option outside of “medical” (which my daughter did not meet that requirement) exemption. I wrote a quick handwritten letter,submitted it, and within a day or so was informed my letter was not accepted. According to the school nurse, it was ‘too short’ and perhaps I should “consider” including a more religious “tone” and furthermore that the Dept of Health would most likely “require” a Pastoral signature.
    I explained to her I have no affiliation with any church, I have no pastor now nor would I be likely to ever have one. After a brief pause,I was told that maybe I should.
    I received countless letters last year and numerous ‘follow up’ phone calls from the school nurse..all to my great annoyance. It has started again, but WORSE now that there are now MORE immunization requirements for all my (older) other children as well. I have been “warned” that the Dept of Health will be auditing me and calling me sometime in the near future.
    Also, as a side note, I was told by my Pediatrician that she has the right to dismiss my children from her practice if I do refuse immunizations.

  21. admin on Fri, 22nd Oct 2010 6:54 pm
  22. Thanks for sharing your story! I suggest that you immediately get hold of the statutes for your state on vaccine exemptions and review the exact language. It would be a good idea to contact some local groups who may include people who use vaccine exemptions: home birth groups, La Leche League and so on. Good luck!

  23. Christina on Thu, 3rd Mar 2011 2:00 pm
  24. My husband and I live in Illinois and we have 3 children, 1 of which is in Kindergarten. Our attends/attended the public elementary school in our district. We do not vaccinate, as such, we submitted a letter of religious exemption, simply stating we were exercising our right to decline for personal religious reasons. That was on Monday. We then recieved an e-mail from the school nurse stating that ‘while we had done a good job, they still needed specific religious reason why we have chosen not to vaccinate.’ I replied that what they were requesting was against the law, but if they had any objections, my husband and I need a written, detailed outline of them. Today is Thursday and they have pulled my son out of class, made him sit in the office (he’s 5, so naturally he thought he had done something wrong and was crying, beside himself with no explanation as to why he was there) and phoned my husand telling him he could either choose to have our son sit in the office all day or he could come and pick him up. My husband of course was furious, but to his credit he very calmly told them what they were doing was illegal and we will be seeing them in court. He also would not leave until they gave him written reasons they had rejected our letter and documentation stating that they had removed our son from class and why. He also required everyone involved sign these statements. We have contacted several vaccine-awareness coalitions that are currently backing us up and finding us legal representation. Throughout this ordeal, we have remained calm and very aware of our rights. Furthermore, good friends of ours have a son in Kindergarten at this same school. They simply printed out Illinois State Law, highlighted some key areas and told them if they had any issues, they may take them to court, case closed, no questions. Their son has been in class all year, no problems. My husband and I have no problem sharing our faith. The issue we have is when we are bullied, demeaned and threatened for exercising our constitutional right to freely practice our Religion, without the Government’s involvement. We do not vaccinate, not specifically for religious reasons, but because they are unsafe and toxic. We, as parents and law-abiding citizens will not be bullied into disclosing our personal decisions and life to a government institution.

    -A non-vaccinating mom

  25. Bridgette on Thu, 3rd Mar 2011 10:23 pm
  26. I feel your pain. We have a medical exemption for our oldest son. We are military so for him to participate in anything on post we have to prove his allergy. We haven’t tried it yet but it is a complete pain to deal with.

    As far as public schools… The school systems are as poisonous to the mind as the deadly ingredients in vaccines. We are homeschooling so we don’t have to worry about dealing wit the schools.

  27. Bayareamom on Tue, 7th Jun 2011 9:15 am
  28. I would urge those of you who have been so courageous in sharing your stories, to go over to the National Vaccine Information Center’s website (‘NVIC”) and sign up at your state’s Advocacy Portal (under Protect Rights area). There, you can sign up (it’s free) and keep track of your particular state’s legislative issues regarding immunizations, etc. Information regarding state exemptions is also available at the NVIC website, as well as a listing of attorneys, contact support groups, etc.

  29. admin on Tue, 7th Jun 2011 8:01 pm
  30. Great suggestion. Another helpful resource is which will be taking on not just vaccines, but all of the corruption which is undermining the health of humanity.

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