No matter how you feel about vaccinations and children, all parents and caregivers can agree that the decision about whether or not to vaccinate your child should be an informed one. And as with any issue, there will be those who fall to either extreme, either following the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) schedule recommendations for vaccination to a T, or those who choose to not vaccinate their child at all. But there is also a growing middle area of parents and caregivers, those who choose to weigh the pros and cons of each vaccine and then decide on an alternative schedule by delaying certain or all vaccines.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, the fact remains that vaccinations are, by law, voluntary. You have the personal right to decide not to vaccinate yourself or your child. However, if you do make the decision to not vaccinate you need also be aware how this decision affects your child and school attendance.
All public and most private schools will require vaccinations for before your child starts attending school. As outlined by a family physician on JustAnswer, the primary vaccines include, but are not limited to:
DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis)
MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
Hepatitis, if not previously given
Varicella, if not previously given
All U.S. states have some sort of exemption you can file with your school claiming refusal to vaccinate based on religious, spiritual or personal beliefs, or for medical reasons. The National Vaccine Information Center outlines requirements and exemptions by state.
It’s important to know that the decision to not vaccinate can come with consequences. According to a family law attorney on JustAnswer, schools have the right to refuse your child’s enrollment and attendance if your reasons do not fall under one of the state’s exemptions or if there is reason to believe your child has been exposed to a virus she or he is not vaccinated against.
Interested in your state's rules around vaccinations? Family law attornies on JustAnswer can help >