Four years ago, North Carolina lawmakers considered closing a loophole allowing parents to declare a religious exemption to vaccinations without showing evidence of their faith.
It was a smart step to protect families from the misinformed irresponsibility of anti-vaccination parents, but lawmakers backed down in the face of small but furious protests.
Since then, the number of N.C. families declaring religious exemptions has continued to rise. Not coincidentally, the state has endured chicken pox outbreaks in 2016, 2017 and 2018, including one last November that afflicted 36 students at an Asheville school with a high concentration of vaccine exemptions. Now, with a measles outbreak raging along the border of Washington state and Oregon — plus 200 cases confirmed in New York since October — lawmakers in North Carolina have more reminders of the potential cost of inaction.
It’s time to get tougher about vaccinations, not only by eliminating religious exemption loopholes, but by taking additional steps to make sure parents don’t game exemption laws and rules.
Currently, North Carolina statute requires vaccinations for measles, mumps and other diseases for children attending day care, K-12 schools and colleges and universities. Like many states, North Carolina allows exemptions for medical reasons and religious beliefs. The medical exemption needs to be signed by a doctor, but the religious exemption requires only the name and date of birth for whom the request is being made. No explanation of the religious objection — or even evidence of religious affiliation or faith — is required.
That loophole should be eliminated. Most major mainstream religions — including all Christian denominations — have no prohibition on vaccinations, and many advocate for immunization, according to a study in the medical journal Vaccine. The Amish, long rumored to forbid vaccinations, have no such prohibition, and Jehovah’s Witnesses softened their stance on immunizations and now allow them.
Objections to vaccinations also are not based on science, which has regularly and thoroughly debunked the notion that vaccines are unsafe. Despite that, anti-vaxxers stubbornly shake their heads, fueled by an internet-based patchwork of falsehoods and suppositions. Their recklessness not only endangers children who have legitimate medical exemptions, but adults who have vulnerable immune systems because of chemotherapy and other treatments.
North Carolina remains among the states with the highest vaccination rates, but between the 2012-13 and 2016-17 school years, the number of kindergarteners excused from immunization more than doubled, the Raleigh News &Observer reported. Those came mostly from western North Carolina, but there also are pockets of religious exemptions in Mecklenburg and Wake counties.
N.C. lawmakers should not only follow the lead of their counterparts in Oregon and Washington state — who are crafting legislation that would eliminate non-medical exemptions — but lawmakers in California, who are contemplating allowing health departments to crack down on doctors who sign off on questionable medical waivers.
Anti-vaxxers argue the state has no right to tell them how to care for their children. But government has long protected kids from poor parenting, and it has long shielded the greater community from the recklessness of individuals.
It’s time to treat vaccination deniers for what they are — a threat to others.
— The Charlotte Observer
8 thoughts on “It’s time to get tougher on anti-vaxxers”
I don’t need ANY reason to refuse what you’re offering or mandating to put into MY body and defend it with lethal force.
YOU will be treated for what YOU are, and that’s fair warning.
Bring it on I am sick of waiting
My body, my choice, and I say “NO!” Got it? Understand? Come at me with one of your precious “vaccines” and you will find out what lethal force is.
Totally agree Sunfire! But apparently these “people” only believe in that when they want to murder innocent babies.
They are going to try to convince people to agree to be injected with threats such as vaccination being mandatory for employment, travel, etc. If gun confiscation doesn’t kick off the fire fight, this certainly will.
I’m noticing a concerted effort here, almost across the board. Major media outlets from widespread locations simultaneously hitting hard on vax-refusers. Guess they all got the same memo. Of course they did. They know we’re hittin’ hard, too.
And I don’t like being called an anti-vaxxer. If others want to inject that poison into themselves, have at it. Their choice. Just call me anti-force, or pro-freedom.
So tell me, you communist c-k s-kers, how do you feel about the “non-Christian .44 magnum or 12 gauge shotgun right through your f-king mouth” exemption?
I know it sounds a little dangerous and has the potential to spread like a, well, a pandemic, but I’ve got to go with what my body tells me it needs.
Shove your death shot up your ass or shut the f-k up and get to doing it.
If you only knew how sick and tired we are of your petty ass tyranny and our need to enforce the ratified law of December 15, 1791, you would be hot footing it the f-k out of this country and hoping you could get gone in time before the spark ignites. I’m here to tell you it is too f-king late, you’ve already run your f-king mouths and now you are going to, well no you are not going to, but you are going to have to try to hire enough mercenaries to defeat the largest army to ever exist on this planet in order to back up your spineless pedophilic mouth. So get on it.
First of all. I’m anti- tyranny!
Second. FK U!!!