Are you required to vaccinate your child?

I believe in vaccinations and make sure that my kids are up to date with them. I get the flu shot and do all that I can to avoid illness. But should you, or are you required by any agency to vaccinate your child? Here is one article with an expert’s opinion. Please share this information with your Au Pair and consider when the last time you have had a vaccine update.

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Paul Offitinfectious disease expert

In the United States, your child’s daycare center, preschool, or school can require you to provide proof that your child has had certain diseases or been immunized against them. All public elementary schools require proof of vaccination for children entering school, and most private schools do, too.

Exemptions from the law are permitted for medical reasons, however. All but two states (Mississippi and West Virginia) also allow people to refuse vaccinations for religious reasons. To qualify, you may be asked to prove that you’re a member of a church (such as the Church of Christ, Scientist) that’s known to object to vaccines.

More than 20 states permit exemptions for personal or philosophical reasons, according to the Institute for Vaccine Safety at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (Not coincidentally, these states have higher rates of measles, chicken pox, and pertussis.) The definition varies from state to state, but typically parents must write a letter or fill out a form (or in some cases sign a waiver on the back of the standard health form) explaining that they have strong personal philosophical objections to vaccinating.

State health agencies and schools require proof of immunization because most diseases that can be prevented by vaccine are transmitted more easily when children congregate, as they do in schools. In the late 1970s, school nurses, public healthcare providers, family physicians, and parents realized the potential for diseases to spread rapidly in schools and vigorously sought laws requiring that children be vaccinated before entering school.

More recently, as a result of parental and community pressure, an increasing number of states have begun to allow exemptions for personal and philosophical reasons. But this doesn’t mean that all daycare centers or schools are required to accept all children. A private center or school may refuse entry to an unvaccinated child.

Note: Not all places require every shot. For example, some don’t yet require the hepatitis B or chicken pox vaccine.



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