Childrearing

Suck It Anti-Vaxxers, This Dr. Says Your Infectious Spawn Shouldn’t Be Allowed In Public Schools

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shutterstock_129788369__1396452968_142.196.167.223“Schools are the setting in which children are most consistently exposed to large numbers of their peers in close quarters, and thus it is of paramount importance that they remain as protected as possible against contagion.” Truer words were never spoken.

Dr. Russel Saunders wrote a piece for Salon this week, explaining his take on childhood vaccinations. As a pediatrician, he believes everyone should be vaccinated except for the small minority of children for which vaccination poses serious health risks. He points to the scary trend of parents seeking exemptions from schools mandating the vaccines – and believes is a “very dangerous precedent.”

Thus, so-called religious and philosophical exemptions from vaccination should be abandoned. Anti-vaccine advocacy groups are all too happy to provide their fellow travelers with information on what their states will allow while still permitting their children to attend public schools. The only kind of exemption from vaccination that should not also preclude public school enrollment is a medical one. All others are an irresponsible threat to public health.

There are parents with children who have a medical diagnosis that prevents them from being able to receive vaccinations safely. For the record, when people talk about “anti-vaxxers” – no one is talking about these parents. I’ve seen parents of children who require medical exemptions become irate when we speak of keeping unvaccinated children out of public schools or in common waiting areas at doctor’s offices. People who vehemently believe in the public health necessity of vaccinations do so to help these children who may have compromised immune systems most of all. In a nutshell – no one is talking about you or your kids or is including you in this argument.

Those who call for vaccinations for all children, do it for the good of society – not just their own families. That’s why it’s so frustrating to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t understand this.  If your child is vaccinated why do you care? I’m never surprised when I hear this question posed, because anti-vaxxers can’t see outside of their own self interests. They do not have science on their side. They benefit from living in a time where vaccines eradicated many awful, awful diseases – diseases that are coming back because some parents choose to believe Internet memes and celebrities over actual doctors. It’s absurd. And it’s affecting all of us.

So what’s to be done about this? At what point do we look the anti-vaccine movement in the eye and say “enough”? How far should efforts to keep our population protected against wholly preventable illnesses go?

“Philosophical” objections should be stricken altogether. What is a philosophical objection except a gussied-up way of saying “doesn’t like vaccines”? They make no sense as public policy, and are a sop to parents who want to let others take the risks they mistakenly associate with vaccines while allowing their children to benefit from herd immunity, but for some reason chafe at the notion of calling their superstition “religion.”

Is everyone sick of reading about the vaccine argument yet? Too bad. I’m going to share the ideas of medical doctors until those who would jump on some ridiculous anti-science bandwagon pull their heads out of their asses – which I don’t envision will be soon.

Repealing laws across our country that allow parents wiggle room in this regard is an important first step in making our schools and communities safer. Freedom is an important value, and one that we should protect and defend. But so is responsibility to the public good. Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children have the freedom to do so, but there’s no reason others should pay for the decision.

(photo: JohnKwan/ Shutterstock)

100 Comments

  1. meghancnyc

    April 2, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Science FTW

    • Eve Vawter

      April 2, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      SCIENCE4ever

    • Robotic Socks

      April 2, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      Religion has been replaced with Science… What manner of magic will replace Science??? O_o

    • White Iris

      April 2, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      YEAH SCIENCE! YEAH MR. WHITE! (I am absolutely addicted to Breaking Bad. So sad it ending but cant wait for the new spin off show with Saul Goodman!)

  2. Sara610

    April 2, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Yup.

    If we’re going to allow “philosophical exemptions” to vaccination requirements, I think I also need a “philosophical exemption” to drunk-driving laws and the car-insurance mandate. Because I don’t like anyone telling me how much I can drink before driving, and if I don’t want to get insurance (even though I could crash into someone else’s car and total it, thereby making my choice into that person’s problem), who is anyone to tell me otherwise? It’s MY CHOICE! And if my irresponsible decision-making results in someone else’s injury or death, that’s their problem, not mine.

    Freedom isn’t limitless, and it comes with consequences and responsibilities.

    • MellyG

      April 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      I wold like philosophical exemptions to taxes please!

    • Andrea

      April 2, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      Well if you are insured why should you care if I am not? Right? Makes total sense!

    • Robotic Socks

      April 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Just like being Spiderman!

  3. CMJ

    April 2, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Stop being so meeeeeeaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

    http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j319/Piggy111/Animated/Beck-crying.gif

    (OMG, I found an actual gif of Glenn Beck crying)

    • Robotic Socks

      April 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      Well, it’s not him actually crying though. I think that was him sarcastic reaction to a criticism IIRC

    • CMJ

      April 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      I DON’T CARE. I WILL USE IT FOREVER.

    • Maria Guido

      April 2, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Don’t ruin it.

    • Robotic Socks

      April 2, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Sorry 🙁

    • Valerie

      April 2, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      Ugh douche nozzle.

  4. Sara610

    April 2, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Do yourself a favor–don’t read the comments in the Salon piece.

    • Maria Guido

      April 2, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Great. Now I have to.

    • Sara610

      April 2, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      No, seriously, don’t. It will make you all kinds of wanting-to-bang-your-head-on-your-desk, and it just isn’t worth the headache in the middle of the afternoon.
      I hightailed it the hell out of there after just a couple.

    • Lilly

      April 2, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      To be fair there are a lot of people trying to be rational in counter-arguing the crazy.
      The issue of course is that arguing with crazy is like playing chess with pigeons.

      http://thememesfactory.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/1911887_472121082913705_1194146690_n1.jpg

    • Kay_Sue

      April 2, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      I’m stealing the pigeon picture…

    • Psych Student

      April 5, 2014 at 2:39 am

      Done. And added to my desktop slide show of lol pictures.

    • Aimee Ogden

      April 2, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      For once, I think I will listen when I’m told this. I’m all out of cookies and my in-laws are coming over soon so I probably shouldn’t start drinking this early in the day.

    • MegzWray

      April 2, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      You warned….I still did. *facepalm

    • shorty_RN

      April 2, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      A sick part of me wants to go and marvel at the stupidity, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I’m afraid my eyes might roll so far back in my head they will get stuck there.

    • chippythehero

      April 2, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      I did. I shouldn’t have and I did and as the family member of a kid who relies on herd immunity (some vaccines didn’t take after her bone marrow transplant) these people infuriate me and would do well to go crawl in a hole and stay there. FOREVER.

    • jendra_berri

      April 2, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      The last time I read a bunch of that crap was on a mom message board and I wanted to kick holes in my walls. I’ll do myself that favour. No nonsense for me today!

  5. jendra_berri

    April 2, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Anti-vax is something I’d end a friendship over with other parents. If by chance my son’s vaccines didn’t take, I don’t want him exposed to other kids who aren’t vaccinated at all and could potentially make him seriously ill.
    Actually, I’d end friendships with non-parent anti-vaxxers as well. I can’t be friends with people who A. think I’m brainwashed by some conspiracry in the medical field and B. hold onto dangerous beliefs that are detrimental to society.
    I read one comment about how there’s toxins in them like formaldehyde. And perhaps this person didn’t know an apple contains more formaldehyde, but why get into the argument? They don’t listen.

    • cabinfever

      April 2, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      that was awesome.

    • pixie

      April 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      There’s also formaldehyde in a lot of cosmetics and you don’t see people getting all upset about that. Fun fact I learned when reading a book about zombies who would eat nail polish and lipstick for the formaldehyde and the preservative qualities that it has.

    • White Iris

      April 2, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      yeah I’m sure the prescription drugs and the make-up we use every day is much worse than a vaccination from a whooping cough. Like seriously what is up with some parents? Thankfully my parents are not anti-vexxers..well except for the flu shot or whatever you ‘have’ to get every year. But, I don’t. Still don’t have the flu. Besides that shot, I would be very worried if my kids (if and when I do of course) ever contracted something like whooping cough just because another kids parents were anti-vexxers.

    • G.S.

      April 2, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      Hey, don’t go knocking prescription drugs! Those are awesome! They keep you from dropping dead, your brain chemistry getting out of whack, having to lock yourself inside and shave the cat (allergies). Bring on the drugs!

    • Psych Student

      April 5, 2014 at 2:36 am

      I don’t care what’s in my drugs, just that I can access them.

    • MegzWray

      April 2, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      I once had a friend who wouldn’t eat Margarine because it was 1 chemical away from being a plastic. That’s like saying you won’t drink water because it’s one chemical away from being Carbon Dioxide. duh.

    • Robotic Socks

      April 2, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      I was not told there would be chemistry on M’ish

    • MegzWray

      April 2, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      you never know what you’ll find on M’ish. I once found out I didn’t like Cilantro.

    • Andrea

      April 2, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      It is a very a controversial herb. 😉

    • Robotic Socks

      April 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      I dunno what’s the big deal. As long as you clean and prep it properly… Right?

    • Andrea

      April 2, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Well you know, it’s hard to cook with. Some people do not handle it very well, use too little oil, that sort of thing.

    • Jessie

      April 2, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      To some people Cilantro tastes like soap. I think it’s genetic. Or they’re not drunk enough. Or maybe I’m drunk right now….

    • Robotic Socks

      April 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      The key to enjoying Cilantro is to have it with plenty of alcohol to numb the flavor.

    • scooby23

      April 2, 2014 at 7:54 pm

      Better not breathe in air either. Just a couple gases away from suffocating on Nitrogen!

    • MerlePerle

      April 2, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      I’m actually doing this right now. She was a new friend whom I met at university and she has two kids the same age as mine so it was great. Unfortunately they will not be coming over anymore as my baby hasn’t had his mmr shot yet and I just found out she’s an anti-vaxxer.

    • Ife

      April 2, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      I’m just did this too. I’m totally breaking up with the playgroup I’ve been going to for almost 3 years because I found out that the woman who runs it (and others) are anti-vax. Not only anti-vax, but recently bragged on Facebook about how her kids were home with pertussis, enjoying the benefits of their superior “natural” immunity. But no worries, it was no big deal because their commitment to the paleo lifestyle made them so healthy they were getting over it in JUST two weeks. Ugh ugh ugh! All I could think of we’re all the times I brought my youngest as a newborn to her house. I’m still so, so mad about it.

    • pixie

      April 2, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Umm. I have no words except I feel awful for those kids having to suffer through that disease and I hope they didn’t spread it to others.

    • Ife

      April 2, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      Yeah, that was pretty much my reaction too when I saw her Facebook posts. Well that and an impressive run of extremely creative swearing.

    • pixie

      April 2, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      Yeah. I have repeatedly thanked my parents for being firmly in the pro-vaccine camp since I started hearing about the outbreaks of pertussis and measles and whatnot.
      Even my parents who didn’t have the chance to get vaccinated as children (except maybe against polio, they were both born in 1956) are looking into vaccines for adults.

    • JLH1986

      April 3, 2014 at 10:17 am

      A local hospital offers free pertussis vaccines to anyone over 18 who knows the name, dob and due date of a pregnant woman. Just to help the spread because we’ve had several cases within 100 miles.

    • pixie

      April 3, 2014 at 10:23 am

      There’s no one that we know personally who’s pregnant and I’m pretty sure most vaccines are covered here by the government, anyways, (in Canada) but thanks, I’ll get them to look into seeing if there’s something similar here. 🙂

    • JLH1986

      April 3, 2014 at 10:27 am

      I just thought it was awesome because here in the states. No one gives anything free, not medically anyway. I have several pregnant friends so I just used one of their names and what not and got a shot. I love babies I’m not trying to be stuck on the outside because of vaccines!

    • pixie

      April 3, 2014 at 10:30 am

      Yeah, that is really awesome for you guys, and I wish all you down there got more things covered. Like I can’t believe how expensive it is to just have a baby!

    • jendra_berri

      April 2, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      God, that would’ve made my blood run cold, thinking about how close my baby could have gotten to whooping cough 🙁
      And there is no paleo diet. Every food the ancient humans ate has been modified and domesticated over the years. That diet is gone, man. Gone. Good thing we’re adaptable omnivores who can eat plenty of things. Oh wait…

    • K.

      April 3, 2014 at 1:00 am

      Wait, WHAT? She was happy her kids got pertussis? Is that a joke?

      My friend’s grandmother almost lost her LIFE to pertussis. Someone else in that group could be pregnant for all those knows.

      I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but…fuuuucccckk.

    • K.

      April 3, 2014 at 1:00 am

      Wait, WHAT? She was happy her kids got pertussis? Is that a joke?

      My friend’s grandmother almost lost her LIFE to pertussis. Someone else in that group could be pregnant for all those knows.

      I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but…fuuuucccckk.

    • Ife

      April 3, 2014 at 7:58 am

      Yeah, she seemed pretty geeked about the whole thing. My brain almost exploded – an aquaintance of mine lost one of her twins to pertussis a few years ago, so I do not fuck around when it comes to vaccines, and this playgroup regularly hosts pregnant moms (like me, right now) and infants. I swear, these people were not this crazy three years ago when I joined. A little on the crunchy side, but the woo and nonsense has really been ramped up in the past year.

      Unfortunately, the irony of her bragging about how wonderfully healthy her kids are in a post about how they’ve been sick with a potentially deadly illness was totally lost on her. I considered pointing out that my kids, despite the fact that I let them eat wheat and sugar, would probably never get pertussis because I vaccinated them. So really, who’s the healthy one here? Instead I just backed away quickly ne unjoined the group. Yikes.

    • Momma425

      April 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      Um, yeah, that happened to me.
      I had a friend from high school who has a daughter a little older than mine and a son who is a little younger than my daughter. We used to get the kids together and play and then I found out she was anti-vax. Then, I started getting “busy” and was never able to hang out anymore.

    • G.S.

      April 2, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      I’d end the friendship simply because I don’t like ableists who think that living in a world where a baby/kid has a higher chance of dropping dead from an easily preventable disease is better than having a kid with Autism (which vaccines don’t even cause. Brain damage with Autism-like symptoms, possibly, but not Autism).

      It’s even worse when it’s in your own family. I wound up tearing into my cousin-in-law last week when he said that Clinical Depression didn’t exist and it was all a conspiracy to sedate people with above-average intelligence/push pills. His reasoning/proof? Because when you diagnose a person with Depression, you don’t have to take a blood test. *facepalm*

    • Katherine Handcock

      April 2, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      Did you ask him what blood test they do to diagnose a broken leg? 😉

    • G.S.

      April 2, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      Actually, I DID use a broken leg analogy, but it was more to explain that his OTHER reasoning of, “since everyone has different genetic makeups, expecting everyone to have the exact same neuro-chemical levels is stupid.” To which I said that was b.s. because that was like saying that since legs come in all shapes and sizes, they can’t possibly break, and you can totally walk on them with bone jutting out, ’cause hey, legs come in all shapes and sizes and who’s to say that that means it’s broken, right?!

      I actually wrote a whole book in response to all the stupid, to which he ignored, and then someone else came in trying to smack some sense into him, to which he also ignored, and then wrote on Facebook a few hours later about “I remain astounded how some people can refuse to accept the truth after being presented with factual evidence.” It took every ounce of willpower not to write, “YEAH, SUCKS, DON’T IT?” in reply.

      (But to be kind-of-fair, we grew up, and he still lives, in a REALLY horrible town for mental illness issues where over-diagnosing ADD and the like is the norm while the special ed program they’re shoved in specializes in the art of paste eating, and I can write a whole book on how abusive it all is, so a lot of people take a diagnosis of a mental disorder/illness with a handful of salt, which is understandable, and over-diagnosing in schools is an actual issue to talk about (I once had a teacher in Grade 3 that tried to pass the entire class off as learning disabled to get more time on the EQAO testing). But even then, saying that mental disorders/illnesses don’t exist outright because of a horrible quack practice is complete bullshit.)

    • Psych Student

      April 5, 2014 at 2:35 am

      You are wonderful! Thank you for standing up to your cousin-in-law. Even if it didn’t help, knowing it’s one of those things that helps support people with mental illness by letting them know that people will talk back to the wackos. Well done! Also, your book sounds interesting, is it published? Where can I learn more about it. Pimp your book! 🙂

    • Psych Student

      April 5, 2014 at 2:31 am

      Uh . . . . er . . . eh . . . I’m sorry, my very real clinical depression seems to be getting in the way of my ability to form coherent thoughts and all that’s coming out is “what the fucking hell is wrong with you (cousin)?!” Wait, that’s not my depression talking – (it talks a lot less since I, a person of slightly above average intelligence, started taking anti-depressants and spent a lot less time sedated on the couch or bed or floor) – it’s my common sense!

    • Katherine Handcock

      April 2, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Had a similar moment with a colleague of my parents, who wasn’t getting her children vaccinated for H1N1 flu when there was an active outbreak in my area because “there’s mercury in that vaccine, you know.”

      Problem 1: her kids eat canned tuna.

      Problem 2: SHE IS A CHEMISTRY PROFESSOR. If ANYONE should understand the idea of concentration and/or levels of exposure, it should be her.

  6. JournalGal

    April 2, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I have anti-vax friends who refuse to get their kids vaccinated because of the “harmful chemicals” but then head straight for Mickey D’s for dinner. *head smack*

  7. JAN

    April 2, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I know I’m about to get lambasted here but I do believe in religious exemptions. Why, because some of the immunizations are developed from aborted fetal cell lines which are against some religions. MOST of the ones available in the US have alternative brands that aren’t developed from aborted fetal cell lines but varicella, for example, does not. Although I’m in favor of most vaccines (I’m a health care professional and certified immunizer) I’m not in favor of stepping over the line for religious freedom.

    • MellyG

      April 2, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      not lambasting you, and i agree in part, but that also means that anyone can just go “oh my religion prohibits it”. Religious exemptions have always been tricky, and i don’t believe that people should be forced to do something that goes against their religion, but when it starts harming others, it’s tricky

      What if my religion mandated beating my kids? or a husband raping or beating his wife? Would anyone argue religions exemption then? it’s a slipper slope

    • JAN

      April 2, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      I think these people will be easier to detect because there’s not an opposition to all vaccines, just a small number (which hopefully will have alternative versions in the future that aren’t developed in this manner). But I do understand, it’s hard to tell where the line is at.

    • MellyG

      April 2, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      the thing is, when you allow religions exemptions you open the door, ya know? You can’t say that 1 person’s exemption is ok but someone else isn’t, ya know?

    • brebay

      April 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      Yeah, my only issue with the religious exemption is that it discriminates against those who aren’t religious. It gives religious people an option that non-religious people don’t have, and since religion is not an immutable quality, it’s pretty unjust. That’s the only reason I can see the philosophical exemption IF you have a religious exemption, but I personally think they should do away with exemptions. Homeschool if you don’t like the rules.

    • MellyG

      April 2, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      Exactly. I”m fed up with people that think “freedom” means freedom from consequence. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, etc. You don’t want to vaccinate your kids? Fine, then don’t bring them into a school. Simple

    • Katherine Handcock

      April 2, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      I think that you could accommodate a religious exemption, but it would involve some new procedures. You’d have to show evidence of regular, active participation in a faith that explicitly objects to the production of a particular vaccine. Many churches maintain membership records, etc., that you could submit. But given that you have to provide some very specific documentation to show the need for a medical exemption, I think standards could be established for a request for religious exemption.

      Perhaps we could start with regular donations of money and/or volunteer time to a religious institution for a minimum period of a year…that would be one good way to show a serious commitment to a faith, as opposed to “I don’t want to vaccinate, so, um…I don’t believe in it!”

    • brebay

      April 2, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      No. You shouldn’t get to opt out if you’re religious and not if you’re not religious. That’s discrimination and it’s unconstitutional, They’re adding the philosophical exemption to avoid LITERALLY making it a federal case.

    • Katherine Handcock

      April 2, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      Hmm…good point. I wasn’t thinking about the American constitutional legalities! And I definitely DON’T like the idea of the “philosophical exemption”, which as people have said, is essentially meaningless.

      I guess I just see a difference between someone who says, “I’m against vaccinations because reasons” and someone who says, “I have devoted a substantial part of my life to a religious creed that has a specific objection.” I would like to see those SPECIFIC objections addressed in some way (as in, an exemption strictly to the vaccine that is problematic.) However, that will likely all be moot soon, since nearly all vaccines now have alternatives that were not drawn from aborted fetal cell lines.

    • MellyG

      April 2, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      but the way the laws regarding religion work, you can’t really do that. The whole church records and what not – what if someone has sincere beliefs but doesn’t go to church?

    • Psych Student

      April 5, 2014 at 2:53 am

      I keep sidetracking, but this one religion exception is ok but another religion isn’t is what freaked out religious conservatives in Arizona who were trying to allow business to deny services (to gays) based on religion. Someone pointed out that that means a Muslim cab driver (aka the boogie man) could deny service to a woman and they all freaked out. What they meant to say was – we want exemptions for *our* religious beliefs, not the religious beliefs of anyone else.

    • jendra_berri

      April 2, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      I think freedom to religion ends where other’s wellbeing begins. If you want to whip your own back in penance, go ahead. Whip your kids? No.
      You want to turn down a life-saving blood transfusion for yourself? Nice knowing you, and good luck. Prevent your kids from having one? That’s neglect, so forget it.
      You want to deny yourself vaccines? Ugh, fine. I think it’s stupid, but whatever. But your children? No dice.
      You can send your child to a house of worship, keep them home for observance on holidays and make dietary choices, but you do not get to make decisions about their health that could not only kill them but also others. That’s the line.

    • MellyG

      April 2, 2014 at 8:12 pm

      Exactly. For instance, where there are laws of general applicability, they apply to everyone, even if they happen to go against your religion. If the law says no drugs, including peyote, and peyote is a part of your religion, you don’t get an exemption (Real supreme court case, not just my example)

    • JLH1986

      April 3, 2014 at 10:24 am

      People STILL do not get that case.

    • Psych Student

      April 5, 2014 at 2:49 am

      They were (and still are) trying to use “religious freedom” to allow shops to refuse service to people (specifically, the super dangerous gays). Many of those laws are being struck down, but the “my religion forbids it” makes it hard for people to function in this society which means either 1. you figure out a way to work around your religion or 2. you consider moving someplace more inline with your belief system so you can have your unvaccinated children refuse services to people who don’t follow your religious beliefs.

    • Angela

      April 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      I get what you’re saying but here’s the reasons I disagree:
      1. When it comes to religious freedom I draw the line at something that puts anyone else at risk and obviously not vaccinating puts the entire community at higher risk.
      2. Religious freedom with children is inherently tricky anyway because children really aren’t able to choose for themselves. I don’t have a problem with parents raising their children in their faith but I don’t believe that they have the right to deny their children access to healthcare or any other necessity based on religion.
      3. Requiring vaccinations to attend public schools isn’t necessarily the same thing as forcing parents to vaccinate. Parents who feel really strongly could still homeschool or private school. Hell, I’d even be okay if anti-vaxers wanted to set up a charter school for their kids but I don’t think religious freedom should extend to putting my (and every other child) at risk.

    • Andrea

      April 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      When it comes to the safety of children, most courts have struck down parent’s decisions when it comes to the child’s health. A lot of cases of jehova’s witnesses for instance, where the doctors went to court to get the child transfusions, the court sided with the doctor.
      Public health trumps religious beliefs.

    • Sri

      April 2, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      If they won’t get vaccinated because abortion, I hope they also never eat any foods with flavor additives, either. A lot of patents on artificial flavors show that they were tested on a fetal kidney cell line. I also hope they never have to take drugs like Enbrel.

      Of course, almost all of these cell lines are around 30 years old, and most of the line histories don’t indicate whether the abortion was elective or medically necessary, and they’re copies of copies of copies of copies of cells that were once a fetus, so I don’t find the argument compelling to begin with. Why should we respect the objections of people more upset about a 30 year old abortion than actually living children who suffer and die from preventable illness?

      I’m not trying to lambast you, I just don’t find it a credible argument.

    • Katherine Handcock

      April 2, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      I can also support the idea of a religious exemptions to specific vaccines, but I feel like there has to be some evidence that you’re an active practitioner of that faith – otherwise, that becomes a way for non-religious parents to avoid vaccines. And once you start getting into a “how religious are you?” test, things do get hairy. That said, I certainly think it could be done, and those with genuine religious objections would fall under the same category as people needing medical exemptions to me.

    • White Iris

      April 2, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      so I might be the only one who doesn’t get this, but why is being religious synonymous with being anti-vex? I am just wondering if there is anything im missing here.

    • Katherine Handcock

      April 2, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      Not necessarily synonymous, but since some vaccines are developed using aborted fetal cell lines, and there are some faiths that object to abortion and/or the “consumption” of blood or products of the human body (which is often interpreted to mean medical uses as well, such as in objections to blood transfusions), there are some religions that have moral objections. As JAN said, there are alternatives that avoid this issue for many vaccinations, but some individual vaccines are still only available from the use of these products (whether current or in the past.)

      As time goes on, I suspect that religious objections will become less of an issue, because vaccine manufacturers are replacing many of those vaccines with alternatives. In the meantime, though, it does pose a problem for some.

    • Jessie

      April 2, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      The Catholic Schools where I live do not except a religious objection against vaccination.

    • Ursi

      April 3, 2014 at 8:06 am

      I believe that religion is a valid reason not to vaccinate if one does ascribe to an actual faith that believes that. It’s a combination of my own strong beliefs about religious freedom and a severe lack of interest in how others live their lives.

      I just think those people should be aware of what they’re signing up for. Keep those kids out of public schools. Just keep them out, there’s no reason for them to put other children in danger.

      I don’t want to live in a country that forces parents to vaccinate but I sure wouldn’t want any kid of mine going to a school with kids that didn’t.

  8. Rachel Sea

    April 2, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Philosophic exemptions are a logical fallacy. Philosophy is based in rational argument and critical thinking, and anti-vaxers use neither.

  9. keelhaulrose

    April 2, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    You’re no fun, mommyish. You’ve run off all the anti-vaxxers. I have to go to other sites to beat people over the head with science.

  10. Angela

    April 2, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Hmmm. I wonder if the fact that we refer to exemptions as “philosophical” should be our first clue that anti-vax claims are not science-based.

    • brebay

      April 2, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      Philosophy is closer to science than it is to religion. It’s all about logic and reason. I guess they probably mean it in more of a “personal philosophy” as opposed to the actual discipline, which sucks, don’t do that to Philosophy!

  11. JJ

    April 2, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I give up. These anti vax a holes don’t listen to any logic. They just spew their crap all over facebook with random links to natural path anti vax doctors and go on about the evils of modern medicine. Fine they want to live like that then fine, but ship them all off to their own damn island in the middle of nowhere so they can talk some more out their a** using awful hippie online sources and spread now preventable disease’s to one another. If you anti vaxxers want to have your cake and eat it too then get the hell out of society now and go build your own natural, anti science and logic hippie culture away from the rest of us. Just get the f*** out!

    • MegzWray

      April 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      The problem you have is that you are a rational human being. They don’t think in terms of outside their little bubble. They don’t care about the stride in vaccines that have happened in the past 50 years and how that has changed the course of our abilities to lead better lives. You are rational. They are not.

  12. Kendra

    April 2, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I read the other day there is currently a little outbreak of either Measles or Mumps (can’t remember which one) in California right now. I went to the comments on the article, and the responses were just absolutely head-bangingly frustrating.

    • JJ

      April 2, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      But no according to the anti vax crew its not back its all just one big conspiracy!Don’t you know people in past centuries dying of these illness’s didn’t want a cure they just wanted to be natural and in touch with earth. These rumours of Measles and mumps are just more media paranoia to make paretnts fill their kids with evil chemicals (eye roll)

    • Kendra

      April 2, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      The article was stating how important herd immunity is. It said “even vaccinated people can carry the disease and pass it along to unvaccinated or undervaccinated people”. This one chick said: “the article even says all vaccinated people pass the disease on”. -.-

    • emilya

      April 2, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      it’s measles, at least in the bay area. a student at cal who is from another country (and was not required to get vaccinated before going to cal or did not have access to the vaccines?) got on public transportation with stupid measles during commuter hours and exposed a ton of people to the virus. I believe, although can’t prove, that sf and around is one of those areas where the rich granola people have stopped vaccinating their kids and are contributing to the weakening herd immunity in the area.

    • Psych Student

      April 5, 2014 at 2:42 am

      Yep, and pretty frightening. I live in the Bay Area and was thanking my lucky stars I wasn’t on the bus that day. I got my MMR and so did my wife, but it’s never fun to find out the hard way that something didn’t take like it was supposed to.

  13. shorty_RN

    April 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I secretly want the antivaxxers to show up in the comments just so I can watch them get flattened by all the smart people. Why do I get such sick entertainment out of that?
    Also, I agree with the Salon article 1000000%.

  14. C.J.

    April 3, 2014 at 12:03 am

    If people want to choose not to vaccinate they shouldn’t be able to send their kids to public school. They can choose to home school or find schools that are anti-vax. The children that can’t be vaccinated don’t get a choice. They are put in danger because of other people’s choices. I respect other people’s religions and views but public safety needs to come before people’s personal views. As far as I’m concerned, if you want to choose not to vaccinate keep your kids away from everyone. They are a danger to babies, the elderly, people with certain illnesses and those that can’t be vaccinated. If someone wants to choose not to vaccinate they should have to live with the consequences of their actions and stay away from everyone else. Those that can’t be vaccinated shouldn’t have to deal with consequences from other people’s choices, not when those consequences can kill them

  15. Shannon

    April 3, 2014 at 12:20 am

    Soo soo many commenters in the salon post have their tinfoil hat on way too tight.

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