Opinion

Vaccinations aren’t mandatory for children to attend school

Why do state and county officials who know that vaccinations are not required say the opposite? Why do respectable media sources such as newspapers and television repeat this misinformation? How can parents make informed decisions when their decisions are based on deceptive information?

Vaccinations are not required in order for your child to go to school. This fact is not hidden away on page 3,962 of the IRS codebook or in some other obscure location. You can get this form from any school in the state; it is the form that parents are asked to fill out and have signed by a physician.

The Certificate of Immunization Status form says nothing about vaccinations or immunizations being required for school (neither does any other Washington law). However, the front of the form does say this:

“Washington State Law (RCW 28A.210.160) requires that all children have a completed Certificate of Immunization Status on file at the school, preschool or a child care facility that they attend.” Please note it is the completed form that is required.

The back of this form really makes it clear. The headline reads, “Statement of Exemption to Immunization Law.” It is followed by this: “NOTICE Your Child can be exempted (excused) from immunization for medical, personal or religious reasons. However, if there is an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease that your child has not been immunized against, she or he can be excluded from school, preschool or child care until the outbreak is over.”

The medical exemption can be signed off by any physician. The personal and/or religious exemptions can be signed by the parent or guardian. That’s the law. That is the truth. Vaccinations are absolutely not required for your child to go to school.

I was, therefore, concerned when the Feb. 20 issue of this paper carried an article containing statements like “New state law requires sixth-graders to be immunized” and “The state law says they can’t be in school if they’re not adequately immunized.” These statements are blatantly wrong.

But why do millions of parents not want their children to be vaccinated? It may be that:

• Not all physicians are in favor of vaccinations. As many as 5 percent of pediatricians and 10 percent of general physicians do not vaccinate their own children or do not follow the recommended schedules. The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, an organization with many thousands of members, is against compulsory vaccination.

• Forcing vaccinations is unconstitutional. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons ... shall not be violated ... .” (Bill of Rights). • This is perhaps the reason children can be exempted from any and all vaccinations in all 50 states.

• Vaccines are loaded with toxic chemicals, including these: Formaldehyde (embalming fluid), aluminum, Glutaraldehyde and mercury. Tiny amounts of mercury can damage brain and nerve tissue. Symptoms of mercury toxicity are similar or identical to those of autism.

• Adverse effects are far more common than we are told. Dozens of Web sites are now dedicated to heart-wrenching stories of children who were damaged by vaccinations.

• There is a lack of true informed consent.

• Outbreaks are common among vaccinated students. In 1995, 56 percent of all measles cases in the United States were in people vaccinated for measles.

• No insurance company pays for damages, injuries or deaths caused by vaccinations.

People have legitimate religious concerns. Vaccines may contain human cells from aborted fetal tissue, pig blood, horse blood, rabbit brain, dog kidney, cow heart, monkey kidney, chick and duck embryo, calf serum or sheep blood. These ingredients don’t set very well with the beliefs of several major religions.

Vaccinations were not the reason most of the serious, life-threatening diseases went away in the United States. Credit goes to improved water and food safety, less rats, fleas and mosquitoes, better sanitation and homes that didn’t get freezing cold on winter nights.

Erwin Gemmer,

Bremerton

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