Vaccines are pharmaceutical products that come with risks that can be greater for some people. 1 2 No vaccine is safe for everyone. 3 4
If you choose to vaccinate, ask 8 questions before you do: 5
Number One: Am I sick right now? Getting vaccinated while sick could increase risks for a vaccine reaction or lower vaccine effectiveness. 6
Number Two: Have I had a bad reaction to a vaccination before? Getting re-vaccinated after a previous vaccine reaction could cause a more serious reaction, injury or death.7 8
Number Three: Do I have a personal or family history of vaccine reactions, neurological disorders, severe allergies or immune system problems? Always review your personal and family medical history when evaluating vaccine benefits and risks. 9 10 11 12
Number Four: Do I know the disease and vaccine risks? Learn about disease and vaccine risks that could be greater for you or your child. 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Number Five: Do I have full information about the vaccine’s side effects? Before you take a risk, find out what it is for each vaccine you or your child will receive. 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Number Six: Do I know how to identify and report a vaccine reaction? Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and where and how to report them. 28 29 30
Number Seven: Do I know I need to keep a written record, including the vaccine manufacturer’s name and lot number, for vaccinations? The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 requires all vaccine providers to record information about vaccines given to you or your child. 31
Number Eight: Do I know I have the right to make an informed choice? Informed consent to medical risk taking, including vaccine risk taking, is a human right. 32 33 34 35
Explore NVIC’s Ask 8 Information Kiosk for referenced information and a variety of materials designed to educate you about vaccines, diseases and how to make educated vaccine decisions. You can download posters and brochures to share with others or send an ecard to family and friends. You can also post or read personal vaccination experiences on this website. Click here to learn more and start your journey!
It’s that time of year when parents receive school enrollment packages that include reminders of state school vaccine requirements. Many parents do not realize that most states offer exemptions for medical, religious or philosophical reasons. NVIC’s state vaccine law web pages are among our most highly visited web pages and our staff and volunteers work hard to keep them up-to-date with the most current vaccine and exemption information so that you understand your options.
For reliable facts helpful in evaluating vaccine and disease risks, our web pages on diseases and vaccines are an excellent resource for you as a parent, and for your college-bound young adult.
Updated School Vaccine Requirements and Exemption Information on NVIC.org
NVIC’s state web pages contain links to your state’s school, daycare and higher education vaccine requirements and information on how to obtain an exemption. Many parents use these pages to educate themselves on what is required and how to obtain a vaccine exemption for their children entering into public school.
The web pages also include vaccine related statutes, with links to the actual law, for each state that allow you to see which vaccines are legally required to help you decide whether to accept, delay or decline one or more vaccines.
Many parents question the need for, and safety of, vaccines,1 and sharing NVIC’s well-referenced information with others encourages educated vaccine decision-making. Information on NVIC’s website will also help you understand the differences between state mandated school vaccine requirements and the federally recommended vaccine schedule.
Navigating College Vaccination Requirements
College bound students face pressure to receive vaccines for meningitis, HPV, and influenza, among others.2345Because most parents are no longer legally responsible for making medical decisions for their college age children, vaccination is often the first medical risk-taking decision these young people will make.
College vaccination and exemption requirements usually comply with the state’s vaccination and exemption laws for K-12, however, in some states these policies are left to the individual colleges to create. In addition, if a college student is going into a health or veterinary profession that requires clinical practice during their course of study, vaccinations are often required in order to complete coursework.
Don’t wait until enrolling into a college or university and/or health care related program to ask what vaccines are required for entry. Obtaining higher-ed vaccine requirements and exemption options in advance of deciding which college to attend can prevent post enrollment surprises. Parents can help their sons and daughters find accurate information and resources regarding vaccines and their risks, diseases and the frequency and severity of complications, and their child’s right to make voluntary, informed decisions about vaccines. NVIC.org is such a resource.
When considering different colleges, you can proactively ask the admissions officer for the school’s vaccination policy in writing (should be on the institution’s letterhead) and research the state’s exemption laws on NVIC’s state pages. Many prospective college students visit a number of college campuses over the course of several months, so it is a good idea to get a reconfirmation of the vaccine policy in writing prior to making final college decisions to prevent any last-minute problems.
Prevent State Agencies from Abusing their Authority
As you and your college student make vaccine decisions, it is important to not only understand your state’s vaccination laws but to also support the protection and expansion of the human right to make voluntary choices about vaccination.
NVIC has noted recent trends by state health departments to overstep and abuse their legal authority by making vaccine exemptions more difficult to obtain. This overreach of authority is often initiated by health departments through a rule-making process.
We hope you will get involved in protecting vaccine choices by becoming a registered user of the NVIC Advocacy Portal to support NVIC’s efforts to prevent abuse of government authority. You can make public comments during these rule-making proceedings, and send copies of your comment to your legislators as a way of informing them about how these regulatory changes affect you and your family. It is a way of building a relationship with your legislator and holding your state agencies accountable.
“The more highly skilled and educated populations are clearly questioning vaccinations.” That statement was recently made by Lorraine Baker, MD, president of AMA Victoria—a medical trade association representing doctors in Australia’s southeastern state of Victoria.1It is not an unusual statement to make when referring to people who veer from mainstream vaccine science orthodoxy—either a little bit or a lot.
In a study published last year in the journal EBioMedicine seeking to gauge the level of confidence in the necessity, safety and effectiveness of vaccines in 67 countries, investigators found that people holding Masters or PhD degrees were “not associated with more positive views on vaccine importance and effectiveness.” People with “no education” had more positive views about vaccination.2
The fact that people, who are educated, trained in critical thinking, and financially solvent, are choosing to do their own research and make independent decisions about vaccination is commonly recognized in the evolving debate on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and the ethics of mandatory vaccination policies. You can see this theme in numerous media articles with headlines that read:
Of course, this recognition by mandatory vaccination apologists of the high education level and earning power of vaccine dissenters is, curiously, often delivered as an insult. Beneath the insult lies a subliminal question: “If you are so smart, then how can you be so stupid and disagree with us about vaccination?” It’s a great question.
However, it assumes that the science supporting the belief that vaccines are safe and effective is rock solid—that those who disagree with the majority view about vaccination are wrong. It assumes that vaccine science “is settled” and cannot or should not be revisited or revised. Both assumptions are entirely up for debate.
Oddly, it is many of those within the mainstream medical and public health communities who adamantly believe they are right on the issue of vaccine science who tend to shy away from looking beyond mandatory vaccination policy and openly debating the continually evolving science. Their preference is to simply shut the door on any contrarian talk by anyone who challenges any piece of the mainstream vaccine paradigm. One must either accept the paradigm in its entirety or risk being labeled a heretic and a danger to the public health, deserving of being punished and banished from civilized society.
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The Vaccine Culture War is heating up. 1 Ground zero is America, Europe and other economically developed countries, where the pharmaceutical industrial complex is raising an iron fist to protect multi-billion dollar profits by disempowering the people. 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
In America, professors and doctors in academia and government are profiling parents by class and race to shame and discredit those challenging vaccine orthodoxy. Elite members of the highest paid professions in our society are using academic journals and mainstream media to openly preach fear, hate, prejudice and discrimination against people who disagree with them about vaccination.
Law Professor: Mothers of Unvaccinated Children Are Criminals
“When it comes to vaccines, rich parents get away with child neglect,” the headline in the Washington Post proclaimed on May 10, 2017. The OpEd was written by a Pace University law professor promoting criminal prosecution of mothers whose children are not vaccinated. 9 She alleged that state legislatures are accommodating “wealthy” mothers by allowing exemptions in vaccine laws, while poor pregnant women have “faced charges of criminal child abuse” and imprisonment for “failing to deliver adequate nutrition or delivering drugs via their breast milk.” She suggested that all mothers who don’t vaccinate their children are criminals and should be punished – “regardless of socioeconomic status” – because vaccination is a “collective obligation” and “the science on the efficacy and safety of vaccines is clear.”
Boston Herald: Hang People Talking Bad About Vaccines
That “punish the mothers” Op Ed was preceded by a May 8 Boston Herald editorial revealing just how far the persecution of people advocating for vaccine safety and informed consent has gone. The Boston Heraldeditorial staff called for the execution of individuals who exercise free speech about vaccine risks and failures. As in, it should be “a hanging offense” to inform parents (especially to inform parents in “immigrant communities”) that vaccines carry an unpredictable risk of injury or death and often fail to work as advertised. 10
Nobody should be surprised. Prejudice and discrimination against groups of people, whether because of the color of their skin, their gender, how they dress, what they eat, where they live, their religious beliefs, their cultural values and political opinions – or simply because they choose to stay healthy in a different way – is always a slippery slope once it is allowed to gain a foothold in society.
M.D. Professor Vaccine Developer Calls for “Funeral” of Vaccine Safety and Choice Advocacy
In 2011, Greg Poland, a University of Minnesota professor of medicine and vaccine developer at Mayo Clinic, 11 12 profiled parents concerned about vaccine risks in the New England Journal of Medicine. He said, “Antivaccinationists tend toward complete distrust of government and manufacturers, conspiratorial thinking, denialism, low cognitive complexity in thinking patterns, reasoning flaws, and a habit of substituting anecdotes for data.” Then he used a death image to invoke a thinly veiled threat. He asked, “What can we do to hasten the funeral of antivaccination campaigns?” 13
CDC on Mothers: Who Are They and Where Do They Live?
Trash talk has become the weapon of choice for a select group of professors and doctors using academic journals and mainstream media to humiliate and bully people who disagree with them about the science, policy, law and ethics of vaccination. In the 21st century, it has been going on in earnest since about 2004 when Centers for Disease Control (CDC) officials kicked off the Vaccine Culture War by asking this question in the Journal of Pediatrics: “Children Who Have Received No Vaccines: Who Are They and Where Do They Live?” 14
The CDC study authors played with the words “undervaccinated” and “unvaccinated” so mothers could be profiled by class and race. They said:
“Undervaccinated children tend to be black, to have a younger mother who was not married and did not have a college degree, to live in a household near the poverty level, and to live in a central city. Unvaccinated children tended to be white, to have a mother who was married and had a college degree, to live in a household with an annual income exceeding $75,000 and to have parents who expressed concerns regarding the safety of vaccines and indicated that medical doctors have little influence over vaccination decisions for their children.”
There it was, the uncomfortable truth that it is college educated, financially stable middle class mothers independently evaluating the benefits and risks of vaccination rather than blindly trusting and relying on someone else to do their thinking for them. Although the CDC’s 2004 profiling study drew lines between mothers based on race and socio-economic class, there was no discussion of the distinct possibility that those lines would disappear if all mothers were financially stable, able to access full information about vaccination, and were truly free to make voluntary vaccine decisions without being punished for the decision they make.
Your skin doesn’t have to be a certain color and you don’t have to belong to a certain socio-economic class – or have a college degree – to figure out that you are not being told the whole truth about risks that doctors insist your child must take. All you have to do is vaccinate your healthy child and witness that child have symptoms of severe vaccine reactions and either die or become a totally different child physically, mentally and emotionally.