Vaccinate or go to Jail
Editor – Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research
That’s not a title just to get your attention – it’s actually what is happening in Maryland right now as you read this. As absurd as it all seems, just last week in Prince William County, Maryland, Judge C. Philip Nichols ordered the parents of 2300 children to show up in court and explain why their children had not been vaccinated, demonstrate that they had been vaccinated or subject them to vaccination in the court house. Not complying with the judge’s order would result in the imprisonment of the parents and a $50 a day fine.1
The justification for the judge’s action, who was requested to intervene by the school board, was based on truancy issues. Those children who were not up to date on their vaccinations would not be allowed to attend school and would be considered truant. The parents of those children would then be arrested for their child’s truancy. At the time of this writing no parent’s had been arrested and at lease half of the unvaccinated children complied with the judges order.
Read that again – half the parents complied. Out of 133,000 children they found 2300 who were not up to date on their shots, threatened to throw them in jail and as a result they are left with about 1000 who still have not complied. That means that 99.2% of children in the school system fulfilled the mandatory vaccination policy. That should give you some perspective on the supposed health care paradigm shift our own leadership keeps telling you is taking place in our culture. Reality sucks doesn’t it?
According to the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) many of those missed vaccinations were for Hepatitis B and Chicken Pox. The NVIC points out that the resultant hepatitis B that results from needle sharing and promiscuous sex is not something most children are getting from being in grade school. And Chicken Pox is, of course, a mild childhood disease that if not contracted when young can be much more serious as an adult. Of course most of you know that the Chicken Pox vaccine was heralded more as a convenience vaccine that would save businesses money because parents would miss less time from work from not having to stay home with sick kids. The President of NVIC, Barbara Loe Fisher, explained that people should be concerned that vaccination for such diseases is being mandated on the model of smallpox and polio.2
Maryland is similar to every other state in regards to mandatory school vaccination laws. The first state to enact a mandatory vaccination requirement was Massachusetts in 1850 to prevent smallpox.3
Other states adopted similar school laws into the 1960’s when 20 states had such laws. Measles’ outbreaks in the 60’s and 70’s led to further enforcement of these laws and an aggressive initiative to raise vaccination levels. By 2004 only 4 states did not have requirements covering mandatory vaccination in all grades through high school.4
In the landmark vaccination case - Jacobson v. Massachussetts - the Supreme Court outrightly rejected the concept of personal choice as an exemption to mandatory vaccination.5 However, every state recognizes that vaccines are not without risk and that those who have health conditions that put them at greater risk for adverse reactions should not receive vaccinations and every state provides for exemptions related to contraindications. Whether or not parents are made aware of this before they are threatened with jail is another story.6
Other reasons for exemption may include religious or philosophical beliefs and there can be various shades of grey within these. For example, some people are not opposed to vaccinations per se but are opposed to mandatory vaccinations. Or they are opposed only to certain vaccinations because they do not feel they are at risk for the disease they are intended to prevent.
Here is the most significant thing for me: While forty eight states allow religious exemptions and twenty states allow exemptions based on philosophical reasons - there is no Constitutional right to religious or philosophical exemptions. The law in any state can change at any time.
Even more infuriating to me is that there is no right to reject or decline vaccination based purely on personal choice. The basis for religious exemptions need not be based on science nor do they require evidence. One merely has to “believe” and have “faith” in an organized body of dogma.
Yet, if one did not want to be vaccinated and based that decision on a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought after reviewing all the evidence, you would not be granted such an exemption. Off to jail with you. This for me sums up how utterly ridiculous mandatory vaccination is.
Upon seeing all the upset children being forced to undergo medical intervention against their will, Judge Nichols remarked:
“Its cute. It looks like their parents are dragging them to church.”7
And he’s exactly right - they are dragging them to church.
As always, I look forward to your feedback, comments and suggestions.
Hernandez H. Get Kids Vaccinated Or Else, Parents Told. Washington Post. Wednesday, November 14, 2007 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/13/AR2007111301408.html
Duffy J. School vaccination: the precursor to school medical inspection. J. Hist Med. Allied Sci 1978;33:344-55.
Malone KM, Hinman AR. Vaccination Mandates: The public health imperative and individual rights. In: Law and Public Health Practice Second Edition. Goodman RA. Editor. Oxford University press. 2007.
Jacobson v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905)
Hinman AR. Overview Of Court Challenges of Vaccine Exemptions. 39th NIC March 23, 2005 http://cdc.confex.com/cdc/nic2005/techprogram/paper_8761.htm
Marlyand Judge to Parents: Vaccinate Kids or go to Jail. Associated Press November 17, 2007.
Additional Resources on this Crisis:
International Chiropractic Pediatric Association – They have links to several other stories and information about exemptions for those in Maryland.
A Real Interview with the Attorney General Enforcing the Judge’s Order http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SqUgno6iN4
MSNBC Interview with NVIC’s Barbara Loe Fisher and a Public Health Officer