The last several days we looked at laws Jacksonville, Florida parents should know about. This is the last installment in this series.
18. I am not sure that I want my kids vaccinated against all of the diseases that my pediatrician recommends. I have heard about negative side effects. Do I have a choice? Section 381.003, Florida Statutes establishes programs for the prevention of preventable disease. The law requires that all children receive vaccines protecting against the spread of diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and other diseases for child-care center or school attendance. There are religious exceptions.
A religious exemption for vaccination is a written form certifying that the parent's objection to immunization for religious reasons exempts the parent and child from state vaccination requirements. .
This exemption is only necessary for use in Florida Public and private schools for kindergarten through grade 12.
- A religious exemption is for anyone who has a sincere religious conflict with vaccination.
- A religious objection may be expressly implied by religious denomination or it may be based on an individual's own moral/spiritual conscience to live God's Word.
Q: What constitutes a religious conflict with vaccination?
- All vaccines are made in violation of God's Word.
- Vaccines are made with toxic chemicals that are injected into the bloodstream by vaccination.
- All vaccines are made with foreign proteins (viruses and bacteria), and some vaccines are made with genetically engineered viral and bacterial materials.
- A conflict arises if you believe that man is made in God's image and the injection of toxic chemicals and foreign proteins into the bloodstream is a violation of God's directive to keep the body/temple holy and free from impurities.
- A conflict arises if you accept God's warning not to mix the blood of man with the blood of animals.
- Many vaccines are produced in animal tissues.
- A conflict arises if your religious convictions are predicated on the belief that all life is sacred.
- God's commandment "Thou Shall Not Kill" applies to the practice of abortion.
- When you believe that the practice of abortion should not be encouraged or supported in any way, a conflict arises with the use of vaccines produced in aborted fetal tissue even though you did not have any other connection with the abortions from which the vaccines are derived.
Q: What religions qualify for religious exemption?
- The statutory language for Florida vaccine policy clearly states that religious exemption must be granted without question if vaccination conflicts with a person's religious convictions.
- A religious objection may be expressly implied by religious denomination or it may be based on an individual's own moral/spiritual conscience to live God's Word.Agents acting on behalf of the state in vaccination matters are prohibited from requesting ANY administrative proof that explains the recipient's religious belief or that proves membership in an "acceptable" or specific religion.
- The state may NOT discriminate between religious denominations and may NOT make judgments regarding religious convictions.
Q: What specific scriptural teachings form the basis for religious objection to the practice of vaccination?
- The New Testament epistles provide an exposition of Christian teaching regarding ethical behavior.
- Christians think of life as a gift of God and the body as a marvelous work of divine creation to be reverenced as a temple of God (I Corinthians 3:16, 6:19).
- To keep the body/temple holy and clean from blemish, scripture warns against defiling the body. (I Corinthians 3:17, 2 Corinthians 7:1).
- There is no scriptural support for injecting poisons or any virus into the bloodstream to cure or prevent disease.
- The Old and New Testaments, however, are replete with references to keeping the body blemish-free so that we may have abundant life.
Q: Where can I obtain a religious exemption from vaccination?
- A religious exemption from vaccination must be obtained from a county health department.
- Religious exemption is not authorized or issued by schools or physicians.
- Every county health department issues a standardized approved religious exemption form (DH 681) that includes the following written statement from the parent or legal guardian:
- "I am the parent or legal guardian of the above-named child.
- Immunizations are in conflict with my religious tenets or practices.
- Therefore, I request that my child be enrolled in school, preschool, child day care facilities, or family day care homes without immunizations required by sections 232.032, F.S., 402.305, F.S., and 402.313 F.S."
- (232.032 is now 1003.22)
Q: Is the religious exemption process the same in every Florida county?
- Whether you live in Manatee County, Palm Beach County, or St. Johns County, the procedure for getting a religious exemption from vaccination is the same.
- The Florida statute regarding either proof of vaccination or authorized exemption for entry into school (FS 1003.22) is a state-wide requirement that applies to all students enrolled in all Florida public and private K-12 schools.
- All county health departments are obliged to authorize a religious exemption when requested.
- Therefore, your request for religious exemption can be provided by any county health department.
Q: Is it necessary to schedule an appointment in advance with the county health director to obtain a religious exemption?
Florida law provides that you are entitled to a religious exemption. When requesting a religious exemption, it is NOT necessary to provide any administrative evidence that proves your religious beliefs. Any agent acting on behalf of the state in compliance with vaccine mandates may not ask for religious documentation, letters from religious leaders, or church membership. It is also not necessary to discuss any other particulars regarding your beliefs or your child's health history.
The standardized approved religious exemption form (DH 681) requires only your child's name and birth date, the requesting parent or legal guardian's name, the date of authorization, and the signatures of the county director and the parent/guardian. The social security number of the child is optional, but not required. You need only provide valid identification.
Q: Can I get an exemption from some vaccines?
The vaccine dilemma applies to both the decision of whether to vaccinate or not, as well as to the decision to vaccinate with only specific vaccines. On the first question, one could desire never to vaccinate based entirely on religious grounds or based on a belief that all vaccination is inherently dangerous because (1) all vaccines are toxic, (2) the theory that vaccinations improves immune function is flawed, and (3) injecting harmful substances, including attenuated diseases, into the blood stream is ethically immoral.
Similarly, there are both religious and non-religious reasons fordeciding the second question. The theory that vaccination improves immune function need not be disputed to conclude that there are unacceptably high known risks, including death, associated with certain vaccinations (though reasons for those risks is not generally understood). Likewise, some vaccines are inherently more dangetous than others. Also, the risk for getting some diseases is less than the immunological risks associated with the vaccine for that disease.
For that reason, a parent may desire to vaccinate for only the diseases with which a child is likely to be infected or feared to be infected. If your religious objection concerns use of vaccines developed from aborted fetuses, you may desire to never use those vaccines while having no objection to other vaccines.If you believe that some vaccines are not objectionable and con be useful, then you should have the right to decide on one, some or all vaccines, and you should be able to determine when to have them administered. Ethics in medicine generally requires informed consent for all medical procedures, including vaccination. Public health law undercuts that ethical standard by purporting to eliminate informed consent for parents of children enrolled in K-12 public and private schools, childcare, daycare or other preschools. Because vaccine policy adheres to one-size-fits-all full vaccination schedules determined by public health officials, you are not free to decide optimal timing forvaccinations or pick and choose which vaccines to utilize.
You are not free to choose to withhold vaccination in the event that your child is not fully healthy before the deadline for compliance, and you may not claim to know whether your child is at risk for immunological consequences when your doctor or pediatrician says otherwise.
Florida's vaccine policy seems to demands that you choose either all vaccinations or none, regardless of individual circumstances or health history. Unless a doctor has a reason to authorize a medical exemption, your only options with current vaccine policy are to (1) comply with accepted vaccine standards and all mandates, or (2) have religious objections to vaccination because partial exemptions and exemptions for personal or philosophical reasons are not permitted in Florida.
If you realize that the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with your religious belief after some vaccines have been administered, you are entitled to a religious exemption from vaccination.