AAP Recommends Elimination of Nonmedical Vaccine Exemptions

AAP Recommends Elimination of Nonmedical Vaccine Exemptions

Created on: Monday, August 29, 2016
Author: Peter MIchaud

The American Academy of Pediatrics has published a new policy statement, “Medical Versus Nonmedical Immunization Exemptions for Child Care and School Attendance,” which recommends that only medical exemptions be allowed for vaccine requirements for child care and school attendance. Along with that policy statement the AAP also published a new clinical report, “Countering Vaccine Hesitancy,” which urges pediatricians to have compassionate dialogues with parents about vaccine misconceptions, safety, and importance.

The policy statement discusses the public health effects of immunization exemptions, pointing out that higher rates of exemptions correlate with higher rates of vaccine-preventable illnesses and disease outbreaks. These outbreaks are exacerbated because of the fact that families with similar sociocultural beliefs often live near each other or attend the same schools, which in turn results in population clusters with lower immunization rates leading to significantly decreased community immunity.

In its policy statement the AAP recommends supporting:

·         laws requiring certification of immunization to attend child care or school;

·         medically indicated exemptions to specific immunizations as determined for each individual student;

·         use of state public health authority to eliminate nonmedical exemptions;

·         compliance with immunization requirements by all child care centers, schools, and other covered entities; and

·         provision of information about immunization rates in child care centers, schools, and other covered entities by public health authorities to their communities in order to determine risks to community immunity.

Visitor Comments

Peter Shaw (Tuesday, December 13, 2016)

This legislation would be welcome

Getting rid of philosophical exceptions would be an important step toward advancing public health. Religious exemptions should be considered case by case, but would not nevertheless guarantee allowing the children to attend public schools.

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