More Iowans are seeking vaccination exemptions

May 17, 2016

By Tony Leys

The number of Iowa parents seeking religious exemptions to vaccination requirements continues to climb, despite efforts to dispel worries the shots cause health problems.

A new state report shows 6,737 Iowa school children obtained religious exemptions to vaccinations this school year, up 13 percent from the year before and more than four times the number 15 years ago.

“It’s not the trend we want to be seeing,” said Don Callaghan, who oversees immunization programs for the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Callaghan predicted the state will face more pressure to tighten restrictions on vaccination exemptions if the numbers keep rising.

Iowa doesn’t require parents to cite specific religious teachings against vaccination in order to obtain an exemption. The state only requires them to sign a statement claiming immunization “conflicts with a genuine and sincere religious belief.”

Public health officials say they’re unaware of any major religion that teaches vaccinations are wrong.

The statewide increase in religious exemptions this school year was not as large as Polk County’s 33 percent jump, which the county reported earlier this spring. But Callaghan had hoped to see a decrease, especially in light of a highly publicized outbreak of measles in California two years ago. That outbreak, linked to Disneyland, took hold among unvaccinated children.


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9 comments on “More Iowans are seeking vaccination exemptions

  • The number of Iowa parents seeking religious exemptions to vaccination
    requirements continues to climb, despite efforts to dispel worries the
    shots cause health problems.

    How utterly stupid!

    In Zimbabwe, Africa, vaccinations are given to most young children. This practice is widespread without health problems as bad side effect. For example,, autism is rare.

    I know, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!”



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  • Mean while, in Australia…. No Jab. No pay. You get no social security benefits unless you immunize your children. And there is a growing requirement from Child Care organizations, No Jab, No Play. Your child cannot go to day care unless they are vaccinated.

    No Jab No Pay’

    In April 2015, the Government announced that it would close off some exemptions from the immunisation requirements for eligibility for the FTB-A end-of-year supplement, Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR) payments stating that it was extremely concerned at the risk non-vaccinated children pose to public health.[1] A requirement for children to meet immunisation schedules has been attached to childcare payments since 1998 and for the FTB-A supplement from 2012 (coinciding with the abolition of a separate, immunisation specific payment: the Maternity Immunisation Allowance). Exemptions from the immunisation requirements for those with medical reasons and for those who submit a conscientious objection to immunisation have been included in the relevant legislation since these immunisation requirements were put in place in 1998, as have legislative instruments allowing for an exemption specifically for members of the Church of Christ, Scientist.[2] On 12 April 2015, the Government announced that it would remove the conscientious objector exemption but retain the medical and Christian Scientist exemption.[3] On 19 April 2015, Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison, announced that after discussions with the Church of Christ, Scientist, their specific exemption would be removed as the Church advised it was no longer necessary.[4]

    Sometimes, you need to regulate against stupidity.



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  • People think this is a personal matter. That is far from the truth. When you refuse to vaccinate you put many others at risk. This should be a patriotic issue.



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  • Why should immunisation be singled out to allow exemptions if it “conflicts with a genuine and sincere religious belief.”?
    You could build a stronger case for not paying taxes based on sincere religious beliefs.

    And anyway, where does it mention vaccinations in the bible?

    Methinks, if I were an underfunded but particularly patient terrorist state, wanting to destabilise the West, one subtle long-term plan would be to plant a few Wakefields here and there, and run a campaign of disinformation, and chip away at that herd immunity. Then when the vaccination levels are sufficiently low, you wouldn’t need to mess around with anthrax or whatever, you just infect your volunteers with measles and other common ailments, and fly them in on tourist visas or walk them across the border. Simultaneous outbreaks of multiple common diseases in major cities across the country. At the very least, a propaganda coup; but possibly also a good cover for blowing stuff up while emergency services are already stretched to the limit.



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  • MadEnglishman #6
    May 19, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Methinks, if I were an underfunded but particularly patient terrorist state, wanting to destabilise the West, one subtle long-term plan would be to plant a few Wakefields here and there, and run a campaign of disinformation, and chip away at that herd immunity.

    Indeed, terrorists and anti-vaxxers are very much the same breed of irrational fanatics!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-36090891

    Seven Pakistani policemen, three of whom were guarding polio workers, have been killed in Karachi, officials say.

    Eight gunmen on motorcycles fired at a group of three police guards and later at a van containing four officers, officials told the Pakistan Tribune.

    Islamist militants oppose vaccination, saying it is a Western conspiracy to sterilise Pakistani children.

    In January, 15 people were killed in a bomb attack on a vaccination centre in the south-western city of Quetta.

    Polio workers called off the vaccination drive in Karachi following the attack, despite the home minister’s order to continue, the Tribune reported.

    According to Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, police have offered a reward of 5 million rupees (£33,000) for information on the killers, and 2 million rupees (£13,000) compensation to the victims’ families.

    Talking to reporters at the scene, Sindh police Inspector General AD Khawaja said polio drops would be “administered to our children at all costs” and said security for polio teams would be increased.

    Pakistan is one of only two countries, along with Afghanistan, where polio remains endemic. Militants have repeatedly targeted vaccination programmes, killing nearly 80 people since December 2012.

    The country recorded more than 300 polio cases in 2014 – its highest number since 1999.

    Most of the new infections were in north-west Pakistan, where militants regularly target roving health teams, and health officials blamed the rise in cases on several deadly attacks on police workers that year.

    The number of cases fell to just 52 in 2015, largely because vaccination teams could reach areas that were previously off limits because of militancy.



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  • 8
    Pinball1970 says:

    @david-r-allen that sounds like a good system

    There is a perfectly robust vaccination system in place that prevents children from some infectious diseases paid for by the tax payer (in the UK at any rate)

    I am almost tempted to say don’t come running to us when your child cannot walk or breath properly.

    Problem with that is it is not just the parents who would suffer.

    Polio like smallpox should have been eradicated worldwide and this is just another example of religion poisoning everything.

    From Pakistan to Iowa.



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  • Just have to make sure you live outside the likely quarantine zone. But if religion is undermining people’s confidence in science, then the public officials are wrong to say no religion teaches vaccinations are wrong. But if capitalism is eroding peoples confidence in science, then public officials might need to look at how capitalism is like a religion. But if most people regardless of their belief or non-belief use their common sense, then it’s all a red herring after all.



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