Source: American Medical News
By: O'Reilly, Kevin B.
Vaccine exemptions for children with physician-verified medical contraindications area allowed in every state, while 48 states allow religious exemptions and 20 states allow philosophical exemptions. In California, parents need only sign a form to opt-out of immunization requirements, but proposed legislation would require parents to get signatures from physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants indicating that they have been informed of the benefits and risks of immunization. The measure is a response to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as pertussis, which infected more than 9,000 people and resulted in 800 hospitalizations and 10 deaths statewide in 2010. The bill is supported by the California Medical Association, whose president-elect, Dr. Paul Phinney, says: “It just makes sure parents are fully informed and make a good decision.” Meanwhile, lawmakers in Vermont have proposed eliminating the personal-belief exemption. Legislation to add religious or personal-belief exemptions or make them easier to obtain is being considered in Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota, and West Virginia.