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Religious Beliefs and Vaccinations

Religious Beliefs and Vaccinations

For many, infants and children making visits to the pediatrician for vaccinations is a routine. But that’s not the case for everyone. Some states allow parents not to vaccinate their children when it conflicts with their religious or personal beliefs.

But does such a decision only affect that person’s family, or is there a risk to the greater community? The PBS series Religion and Ethics Newsweekly explored what it means when religious beliefs clash with vaccinating children.

As correspondent Deborah Potter tells us, “Every state in the country requires children to be vaccinated before they can go to school. But in all but two states, West Virginia and Mississippi, parents can opt out by stating a personal or religious objection. In most states, including Massachusetts, there’s no proof or explanation required. It’s as easy as signing a piece of paper.”

“If a parent says that that’s a religious belief, that’s what we need to go with, and we need to keep our fingers crossed that there isn’t going to be an outbreak during the school year. Otherwise, those students would be held out of school until the period of communicability has passed, and then unfortunately other students and staff members could be subject to illness.”

Robbin Suprenant
School Nurse
Amherst Regional High School

View the entire segment:

Read the transcript.


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