Vermont Governor Signs Law Eliminating Vaccination Exemption Loophole

vaccination articleThe pendulum is slowly but surely beginning to swing back against the anti-vaccine movement. Last Thursday, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill which removes the philosophical exemptions loophole in the state’s vaccination laws. In California, a law (SB 277) is working its way through the State Assembly that would also remove the ability for parents to refuse to vaccinate their children while claiming “personal beliefs.”

These two laws don’t completely close the doors to irresponsible people putting others at risk, but they certainly make it a bit more difficult to opt out.

Prior to this bill being passed, vaccination laws in Vermont as well as California allowed people to forgo vaccinating their children if they claimed it violated their personal beliefs, a loophole that’s still open in 18 other states. As a result, enough people were not vaccinating their children that herd immunity was no longer possible in Vermont, and the recent measles outbreaks seemed to have caused lawmakers to consider closing these exemptions for the sake of public health.

The previous legislation, which required parents to review educational materials before claiming the exemption, was an attempt to balance individual rights with the need to protect children from childhood diseases. Nobody has yet figured out how to do that. During the current debate, the Vermont State Health department reported that fewer than eighty-eight per cent of children entering the state’s kindergartens were fully vaccinated. Like most states, Vermont currently offers parents an exemption for medical conditions and one for religious beliefs. It has been one of about twenty states that allow for philosophical exemptions, and the majority of exemptions in Vermont have been for philosophical reasons.

Meanwhile, outbreaks of measles, like the one earlier this year at Disneyland, as well as other childhood diseases, have been increasingly difficult for politicians to ignore. Public-health experts say that ninety-five per cent of a student population needs to be vaccinated to provide adequate protection against measles, the world’s most contagious disease. Measles remains one of the world’s leading causes of death among children under five, according to the World Health Organization. In 2013, the disease killed nearly a hundred and fifty thousand people; before vaccines became available, millions died. (Source)

This country was founded on the freedom to practice your personal beliefs, within reason. However, when your personal beliefs endanger public health and put other people at risk, that’s where your rights end.

If you wish to keep your kids from getting a vaccine which will give them years or even a lifetime of immunity against horrible diseases, that’s your choice, but it’s not your right to possibly infect others simply because you read an article at Collective Evolution or that claims vaccines are a plot by the Illuminati and/or Bill Gates to depopulate the world. Come to think of it, if that’s what vaccinations were intended to do, they’re having the exact opposite effect – but never try to explain logic or science to people who buy so deeply into that paranoid worldview.

To be fair, many people who have fallen for the “alternative medicine” quackery are simply naive, and individuals like Mike Adams from Natural News or Dr. Joseph Mercola are making a lot of money promoting paranoia, and comparing their critics to genocidal Nazi war criminals when they get called out for their lies.

Vaccines have been proven to be safe and extremely effective in eliminating diseases that have killed or crippled millions – this is a debate that was settled by science in the 20th century, regardless of what purveyors of pseudoscience may say. Kudos to Vermont for closing this philosophical loophole which puts the public at risk and does nothing else other than to lend credibility to wackos like Mike Adams, Glenn Beck or Alex Jones.


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