Get Shot or NOT
Earlier this year there was an outbreak of measles in Washington state. Several children died. Washington state has allowed parents to refuse to vaccinate their children and still allow those children to enter school. Most state require that students be vaccinated; however, they allow for an exception for religious considerations. After the outbreak of measles in Washington, some lawmakers are wondering if this exception should continue to be allowed.
Now there has been another unprecedented measles outbreak on the other side of the country in Rockland County, NY. There school officials have said that children who have not been vaccinated may not attend public schools. Forty-four families whose children were excluded from school had sued to insist that their children be allowed to return to school arguing that none of their children had contracted measles and, therefore, were not a risk to the population. However, a federal judge has recently ruled on the side of the school district and denied the request for the children to return to school.
In the meantime, there is legislation in process in New York that would allow minor children to request and receive vaccination without parental consent. Pediatric organizations have supported the legislation.
The notion that vaccines cause autism has been debunked routinely. In Maine, families could refuse to vaccinate their children for non-medical reasons, including just a basic fear of the vaccine. A Democratic sponsored bill would end all non-medical reasons for forbidding vaccinations. On the other side, a Republican bill would leave medical exemptions at the “sole discretion” of the health-care provider. Maine has one of the nation’s highest rates for nonmedical exemptions.
Maryland currently allows for a medical exemption and a religious exemption. It does not allow for a philosophical exemption. Some states do allow for that type of exemption.
The issue is, where does the right to decide for one’s own children begin, where does the child’s right to decide for itself or in consultation with another adult- and what are the rights of the other children in the school.
What should Maryland do as more religious organizations begin to weigh in? Get shot or not? Whose right is it.