Mandatory vaccinations are always a hot-button ethical issue. By what power can the government require that one be vaccinated? When one chooses to not be vaccinated, is that person also making a choice for his fellow citizens whom he puts at risk by doing so?
An associated press examination of state by state vaccination records indicates a troubling trend of parents making false claims of religious objections to avoid mandatory vaccinations for their school-age children. You can read the article here, but the main points are:
- 28 states allow parents to opt out for religious or medical reasons only. In 20 of these 28 states, the number of kindergarten opt-outs doubled or even tripled between 2003 and 2007.
- It is believed that the false claims of religious objection may stem from parental distrust of shots due to the internet hype regarding the purported link between vaccination and autism.
- Children who are not vaccinated can spread disease to other non-vaccinated children as well as those vaccinated children that did not receive complete protection from their shot.