Should parents have the right to exempt their children from vaccinations for non-medical reasons?
There is an on-going global battle. And while it has been going on relatively low-key for many years in America, a few cases of measles in Disneyland in 2014 thrust the vaccine debate into the public limelight and resulted in legislation banning personal vaccine exemptions in California. Fortunately, philosophical vaccine exemptions are still available in most states—at least for now.
On one side of the battle, there are the people who support strict, unwavering adherence to the standard recommended schedule of childhood vaccinations. In the other camp, there are those who do not. The latter group is often venomously referred to by the former as “anti-vaxxers” and portrayed in the media as ignorant, bad parents whose refusal to vaccinate will lead to the return of previously-eradicated disease like the measles.
The sad reality is that many so-called “anti-vaxxers” used to think like that, too. They followed their pediatrician’s advice and vaccinated, believing the vaccines were safe—until they witnessed the often horrific and permanent injuries their children sustained after the administration of one or multiple vaccines.
While it’s too late for anti-vaxxers to heal their vaccine-injured children, the only way they can protect them from further injury and can protect their other children from the potential for similar injuries may be by refusing to vaccinate. Since there is currently no way to know in advance with certainty whether a child will have a serious vaccine injury, parents need to have the right to refuse to vaccinate for personal, non-medical reasons.
Because the mere idea of forced medical interventions like vaccination may spark resistance from not only anti-vaxxers but also from parents who are merely “vaccine-hesitant”, the province of Ontario, Canada is considering innovative legislation. If passed, parents wishing to opt-out of vaccinating their children for personal reasons would be required to attend an educational session with a health care worker. The stated intention is to increase conversion of the vaccine-hesitant, who far outnumber the “hardcore anti-vaxxers”, without banning the personal exemption. While this approach is obviously preferable to an outright ban, the inconvenience and potential for coercion give cause for concern.
Despite growing proof that vaccines do cause injury and cases being won through the National Vaccine Injury Program, the percentage of vaccine-injured children is still small in comparison to those who don’t suffer reactions. This results in the mainstream sentiment that it’s acceptable to sacrifice the needs of the few in favor of the needs of the many.
The anti-vaxxers have long argued that a vaccinated person should have nothing to fear from a non-vaccinated person. Those favoring vaccines argue that sick people who can’t be vaccinated or young babies who have not yet received all of their vaccines are vulnerable and may catch diseases from the unvaccinated. Anti-vaxxers counter that those same people may be infected, not by them, but rather by contact with people who have recently been vaccinated with live vaccines. The battle goes on. Meanwhile, the vaccine injuries continue and the threat to personal vaccine exemptions looms large.
If you or someone you love has experienced a vaccine-related injury, you may be entitled to compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). At the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, we provide no-cost legal representation for individuals suffering from vaccine-related injuries, nationwide. For more information about how to file a claim, contact us by calling: (202) 800-1711 or by requesting a contact to speak with our vaccine attorney today.