This was originally posted on September 7th, 2012. There are some vital updates since then.
I live in West Virginia. I love it here.
There is one thing I don’t love – the vaccine laws.
Basically, unlike 48 other states, West Virginia ONLY allows medical exemptions for vaccines rather than religious or philosophical. These exemptions are EXTREMELY hard to get and family doctors virtually have no say as the decision is made by one retired doctor who simply reads an application form. West Virginia also is the only state which makes not vaccinating a criminal offense where parents can be cited with a misdemeanor.
Right now, children are being refused entry to school because they have not received vaccines that were added to the requirements illegally. These children are in compliance with state law and yet are being turned away from school and parents are being threatened with criminal action for truancy plus calls to CPS for medical neglect.
Three county judges have ruled in favor of families who have children who were removed from the school. The judges have stated that these children are entitled to an education and have been awarded homebound instruction pending a large case in Kanawha county. We, as parents, lost this case and are preparing to appeal.
No matter what side of the vaccine fence you fall, here are some ways West Virginia’s broken system can be reformed to benefit EVERYONE.
- Allow exemptions. Even with the strict WV laws, this state has some of the lowest rates of vaccination in the entire country. The strict laws are not having the desired effect of greater vaccination rates. Vaccination has become an all or nothing affair. If exemptions were allowed, parents could more easily opt out of one or two that bother them and still be in compliance with other vaccines. Vaccine rates would likely improve.
- Improve trust. There is a massive trust breakdown in our system. Parents aren’t trusting what their doctors are saying. Doctors aren’t trusting that parents have their children’s best interest at heart. Patients are being kicked out of practices for not being 100% in compliance. It has become an “us against them” attitude. It SHOULD be about working together for the child’s best interest. The all-or-nothing mindset does not help.
- Educate honestly. A major part of trust is education. Open dialog. Nothing forced or pressured. Honesty. We need to STOP the commercials on TV and articles in the paper that have doctors saying “Get your vaccinations! Nothing but good can come from them!” That is a lie. There are side effects. The public knows this. Trust is eroded even more. People are not stupid. Arm them with information to decide what is best for their families. Don’t hide the risks and side effects.
- Go alternative. Encourage and embrace alternative vaccine schedules. Parents feel pressured to follow the CDC’s recommended schedule which is designed to decrease doctor visits and increase compliance. Many parents are uneasy about the number of shots given in one visit. Encourage parents to use their choice of an alternative, selective, or delayed schedule. Some parents have chosen to use homeopathic vaccinations.
- Go partial. Encourage parents to refuse some of the vaccinations. Wouldn’t partial vaccination of the previously unvaccinated increase vaccination rates in the state?
- Get reporting. The VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event) reporting system is incredibly underused. Make sure you report EVERY side effect experienced including those that are said to be normal and expected such as fever and redness. This can only help us get vaccines that are safer and safer. By not reporting, drug makers do not quickly see when there is a problem with their vaccines which puts us all at risk.
- Back off. There is fear mongering on both sides. This fall, children’s medial privacy rights were broken. In some schools, they were called by name in groups to be chastised for not complying with the illegally added new vaccines. Only the school nurse legally can see medical records. It is not legal for students to know each others’ medical information. It further erodes trust and encourages bullying. Rather than having tunnel vision to push one agenda, look at the bigger picture. Back off a bit. Let parents make informed decisions for their children.
How does all of this benefit both sides?
First and foremost, parents are given control over their children’s health care decisions beyond public/private school or homeschool. Secondly, vaccination rates are likely to rise with improved communication between care providers and patients – especially if alternative and selective vaccination schedules are encouraged. Lastly, parents will not need to compromise their deeply held religious or philosophical beliefs in order to comply with the law. (There are no vegan vaccines. Many are not kosher. All use some form of animal product to grow the vaccine including aborted fetal cells)
I am not anti-vaccine. I am pro vaccine choice. What we have in West Virginia is not working. We are working toward change.
Can you help us?
There are a few simple ways that you can help West Virginia change. There is a group called We The Parents that is spearheading efforts to change our laws. Like that page on facebook and consider sharing the information you find there. This page goes into much greater detail about the issues we are facing here.
Also, changing laws is not free. Not cheap. We are raising funds to pay for the lawyers who have been helping us along the way. We are appealing the decision which gives DHHR free reign to add any medical procedures at any time. If WV can do this, ANY state can do this. Please donate – we have two weeks to raise $7500.
Lastly, pray for us. Pray that we would be successful in securing freedoms that 48 other states enjoy.
How are the laws in your state regarding vaccines?