"Responding to an outbreak of measles that has infected more than 100 people, two California lawmakers said on Wednesday they would introduce legislation to end the right of parents in the state to exempt their children from school vaccinations based on personal beliefs."

"California public health officials say 92 people have been diagnosed with measles in the state, many of them linked to an outbreak that they believe began when an infected person from outside the country visited Disneyland in late December."

"More than a dozen other cases have been confirmed in 19 other U.S. states and Mexico, renewing a debate over the so-called anti-vaccination movement in which fears about potential side effects of vaccines, fueled by now-debunked science, have led a small minority of parents to refuse to allow their children to be vaccinated."
(Source)

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Should parents be allowed to exempt their kids from school vaccinations because they "personally believe" discredited claims about side effects? Why or why not?

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If their was a vaccine for ebola, and we all lived in western Africa, should parents be allowed to exempt their children from receiving the vaccine because the spaghetti monster they worship forbids it?

So what's the argument? Does individual freedom to choose trump the health and well being of the masses? Would we allow a leper into a classroom filled with children? How about if their teacher was a leper? Would we send our kids to school and risk the chance of their acquiring leprosy?

Big resounding no to the above and yep, everyone should get vaccinated for measles.

Fire away...

Should 'personal belief' vaccine exemptions be allowed?

No. 

The issue is not clear-cut for me.

Of course, I think it's a good idea to vaccinate your kids, and it's stupid if you don't.  I think it's especially stupid if it's because an imaginary sky friend forbids it or because some quack doctor once wrote a paper full of lies about it or because if everyone else gets the shot MY kid doesn't need to. 

But, I think we sometimes are quick to give the government control of something because of some specific case at hand without considering what could happen down the road (like expanded powers to deal with "terrorists" without a concrete definition of terrorism).  I have this image of government-mandated inoculations for an ever-expanding and ever-changing list of things the government defines as "public health risks" this month.  And pharmaceutical companies raking in billions for providing the shots. 

Should parents be allowed to exempt their kids from school vaccinations because they "personally believe" discredited claims about side effects? Why or why not?

Maybe I'm not totally up to speed on the legislation...but when I enrolled my son in kindergarten, I had to present his vaccination record that showed he had all the basic vaccinations for school. This was a requirement. So....I don't think parents really can choose if they want to send their kids to public school...can they? Private schools may be different, I don't know.

A look at the history of vaccine deniers and the impact of parental vaccine refusal.

No.

"The point of immunization isn’t just to protect your own child, but also to protect others. Especially those like Rylee Beck, a 5-year-old girl in Orange, Calif., who is fighting leukemia and can’t be vaccinated. To stay safe, she depends on others getting vaccinated and creating 'herd immunity' to keep the disease at bay." (source)

It sounds fair and democratic and tolerant. I’m referring to the mantra one often hears from anti-vaccination parents that, “I just think it should be the parents’ choice.”

That’s easy for them to say, because their children live in a world where about 90% of the kids around them are immune to measles and whooping cough and some of the other diseases that would sweep across the country back before vaccination become common in the 1950’s. That immunity also means that 90% of the kids around them couldn’t pass along these diseases if they tried.

But let’s consider changing things around and I’m betting many of those anti-vaccination parents would change their mind.

For example, let’s say OK, you don’t want to vaccinate, but we don’t want our children around your children. At the same time, we don’t want to deny your children an education.

So, here’s what we’ll do. We’ll set up schools where your children can go to school, but only with other unvaccinated children. And once your children start getting the measles or whooping cough or even polio, some of them dying, don’t come running to us because we’ll just say…

‘I’m sorry your child is dead, but at least s/he didn’t become autistic, right?!!!

autistic

Are they really still beating that dead horse? Don't they have other arguments?

There are plenty of science deniers out there. Sadly, many of them are otherwise pretty well educated. I call them "educated idiots."

I include the wackiest of all, Scientologists, in that high functioning group of (largely) educated people. Hope I can watch someone's HBO when Going Clear starts to play. I wouldn't be surprised if smart people like John Travolta finally quits them.

I'm rethinking my ideas wrt "religious freedom". Maybe citizens and residents shouldn't be exempt from as many laws just because of personal belief, whether those beliefs are religious or not... or those citizens/residents should at least be required to have a specific exemption approved and on file. Then public (e.g. schools) and commercial places (e.g. Disney or maybe even movie theaters, etc) should be allowed to refuse entry to certain (specified) exemptees.

I don't like the idea of more complicated laws, but Public Health will increasingly become a scientific issue that everyone should be officially educated about. We already have laws and practices in place (e.g.) in health services and food serving establishments... even vaccinations and periodic tests for diseases.

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