|Legal Exemptions to Vaccination|
|Reprinted from National Vaccine Information Center.|
|Medical, philosophical or personal belief exemptions are worded differently in each state. To use an exemption for your child, you must know specifically what the law says in your state.|
|The following 18 states allow exemption to vaccination based on philosophical, personal or conscientiously held beliefs: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. |
In many of these states, individuals must object to all vaccines, not just a particular vaccine in order to use the philosophical or personal belief exemption. Many state legislators are being urged by federal health officials and medical organizations to revoke this exemption to vaccination. If you are objecting to vaccination based on philosophical or personal conviction, keep an eye on your state legislature as public health officials may seek to amend state laws to eliminate this exemption.
|All states allow a religious exemption to vaccination except Mississippi and West Virginia. |
The religious exemption is intended for people who hold a sincere religious belief opposing vaccination to the extent that if the state forced vaccination, it would be an infringement on their right to exercise their religious beliefs. Some state laws define religious exemptions broadly to include personal religious beliefs, similar to personal philosophical beliefs. Other states require an individual who claims a religious exemption to be a member of The First Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science) or another bonafide religion whose written tenets include prohibition of invasive medical procedures such as vaccination. (This kind of language has been ruled unconstitutional when it has been challenged in state Supreme Courts.) Some laws require a signed affidavit from the pastor or spiritual advisor of the parent exercising religious exemption that affirms the parents' sincere religious belief about vaccination, while others allow the parent to sign a notarized waiver. Prior to registering your child for school, you must check your state law to verify what proof may be needed.