Vaccination Exemptions

Vaccine concerns in Congress: On June 19, 2002 Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN), Chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, held hearings on the possible autism-measles vaccination link. He said that most parents whose children have autism think there’s a connection to the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and to bowel disorders in autistic children.

Almost all scientific studies of the issue, and there have been many, have failed to confirm this and both the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have issued statements saying the MMR vaccine is safe. However, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) said in an April 23, 2001 report that it could not rule out the possibility that the MMR vaccine could contribute to autism in a small number of children. Typically, everyone is calling for more research. Burton backs this.

Back to school without vaccines?  Dr. Sheri Tenpenny wants you to know that parents in all fifty states have the right to file a vaccination exemption with public and private schools. There are three kinds of exemptions, she explains: medical, religious, and philosophical.

A medical exemption is used when a child has an underlying condition that makes receiving a vaccine a risk to his or her health. This exemption must be granted by a licensed medical doctor, not an alternative health practitioner. It is difficult to obtain.

A religious exemption is available in all states except West Virginia and Mississippi as of this writing in fall 2002. To claim a religious exemption, Tenpenny explains, parents must have a deeply held belief that vaccinations violate their faith. It is not necessary to belong to an established church or synagogue to make this claim, but religious belief exemptions can be challenged and parents could face interrogation in court.

A philosophical exemption is available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana,Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, andWashington. It allows parents to refuse vaccines based on their conviction that the risks may outweigh any perceived benefits.

Tenpenny advises that people interested in an exemption should research and understand their state law as well as the possible risks from the vaccines and the possible risks from the diseases. Parents need to know how the diseases are contracted and what to do if their child gets sick with, say, the measles or chickenpox.

You can get more exemption information from Vaccination Liberation in Coeur d’Alene, Idahoat (208) 255-2307 or at and from the National Vaccine InformationCenter in Vienna, VA at 703-938-0342 or For more information on vaccines go to