Opening the Can of Worms...Vaccines

If you are a mom, then you know about the "mommy" can of worms.  The topics that cause moms to judge other moms.  The mere mention of these words in a group of young mothers makes your hair stand on end and your blood pressure rise.  The Mommy Can of Worms: breastfeeding, cosleeping, homeschooling, circumcision and vaccines.

Today I am opening the vaccination can of worms.   I will be up front and say that I vaccinate all my children and I vaccinate on time.  Only one of my children has missed a vaccine.  My Ella was due to receive the rotovirus vaccine at one of her checkups.  She was unable to get it because it is a "live" vaccine.  I was going through treatment for breast cancer at the time so the doctor thought it was best that she didn't get the shot. It was for my protection.  She missed her window so she never got it.

That being said, I don't take issue with parents that choose to delay their shots.   My kids don't have reactions to their shots so I choose to get them done all at once.  I understand if you choose to spread them out so that it is less likely to cause a reaction in your child. If you are planning to send your children to public school, you need to have the shots completed before Kindergarten.  These are the state of New Jersey's minimum requirements.  The key is to find a doctor who supports your decision and will work with you.  

I do take issue with parents who don't vaccinate their children and then send them to public school claiming a religious exemption.

What is a religious exemption?  A religious exemption for vaccination is a written form certifying a parent's objection to vaccination for religious reasons. 

If you choose not to vaccinate your children- that is your choice.  I have friends who do not vaccinate but they home school their children- that does not bother me.  They are the parent- they made their choice.  They are still following the law.  They stand by their convictions.  I respect that.

The problem is that using a religious exemption can be lying.
 I don't know the details of every religion.  I can only speak about my own.  So in this instance I am talking about Evangelical Christians.   I see nothing in the Bible that states that you should not vaccinate your children.  How can you claim a religious exemption?  Where in our religion does it say that?   

What is Focus on the Family's perspective on vaccination and immunization safety for babies?


What’s your perspective on vaccination and immunization safety? Several of our friends, who are also new parents, have very strong feelings against vaccinating children. I want to do what’s best for our baby - can you give me some guidance in this area?


The first thing you need to know is that, contrary to the claims of some groups and individuals, vaccines are safe. Before any vaccine reaches your doctor’s office, it has undergone several rounds of rigorous clinical testing. The government continues to monitor all vaccines after their release to ensure that they are as safe as possible. While a small minority of children may experience mild reactions, including irritability, tenderness in the area of injection and low-grade fever, the likelihood of a severe reaction to a vaccine is extremely small— much smaller than the likelihood of complications due to the disease.

Some vaccines, such as the measles-mumps-rubella and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis triple vaccines, are administered in combination and infants often receive several during a single office visit. This has led some parents to express concerns that their infant’s immune system might be weakened as a result of receiving too many vaccines at one time. In actuality, a child’s immune system is exposed to far fewer antigens over the entire course of recommended vaccinations than a child will face within the course of a normal day.

It is extremely important that immunization occur when children are young and still vulnerable. It’s also vital that we continue to vaccinate for childhood measles, which we no longer see nearly as often as we once did. The fact of the matter is that these diseases have 
not been eradicated—we simply see them less frequently because most children are immunized against them. Even for diseases that have not occurred in North America for years, vaccination is still essential. For instance, wild polio has not occurred in the Western hemisphere since 1994, yet the accessibility of international travel means that someone elsewhere in the world who is infected with polio could carry it into parts of the world that have not seen it in decades.

We should add that many diseases that are commonly regarded as benign childhood ailments can be far more serious than many people realize. Rubella (German measles), for instance, can result in infant death and cause serious birth defects. Prior to immunization, pertussis (whooping cough) struck between 150,000 and 260,000 individuals annually and caused as many as 9,000 deaths per year. Before we had a vaccine, nearly everyone in the United States could expect to contract measles. At one time, this disease was responsible for about 450 deaths nationally every year (and it still kills more than 100,000 children every year around the world).

It’s worth noting that there may be instances in which a doctor might postpone immunization—for example, when a child is ill or recovering from a severe illness.

There is, of course, a great deal more we could say on this subject, given the time and space. We could explain, for example, why the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Institute of Medicine have concluded that there is no relationship between autism and the MMR-II vaccine. We could provide documentation spelling out why there is no significant threat of mercury poisoning associated with modern childhood immunization. We could argue at length that the idea that physicians are involved in a global conspiracy to promote immunization at the expense of children’s health is ludicrous at best and slanderous and dangerous at worst. But by this point we think you’ve probably got the main idea; Focus on the Family strongly favors the practice of protecting small children against dangerous infections by way of immunization. If you need more detailed information, we suggest you consult your family doctor or pediatrician.
Excerpted from The Complete Guide to Baby and Child Care published by Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright © 1997, 2007, Focus on the Family.

Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family are considered to be reputable, Christian conservatives.  They make no mention of using a religious exemption from vaccines so that your child can attend school.  On the contrary, they support the use of vaccines. 

What is my point?  It is that if you choose not to vaccinate your children, that is your choice.  It is wrong to send your unvaccinated children to public school claiming religious exemption status.   It is lying.  Our religion does not exempt you from vaccinations.  Our religion also doesn't say that you should vaccinate your children.  The law says that you must. So if you choose not to vaccinate, you need to stand by your convictions for the reasons that you think are correct and homeschool your children.   Sending them to public school without the vaccinations is breaking the law.  Claiming a religious exemption is lying.

Some of you are reading this and your head is nodding in agreement.  Some of you are boiling hot about it.  Please feel free to comment on the issue.  Keep the comments free of foul language.  I will delete any comments that contain profanity or inappropriate language.  


  1. What a good topic us moms and dads have to deal with.

    I kind of agree with you. John had all his vacs when he was a baby and younger. Now they are always pushing flu shot, chicken pocs shot, etc. That I don't do. I have had bad reactions to the flu shot and other extra choice vacs and choose not to subject my son to those problems. He gets what he must have to get into summer camp. :-)

    When he is an adult and wants to get a flu shot that is his choice.

    My cousin small children have had nothing but bad reactions to the "needed" vacs and she is dealing with their health problems and hospital visits. Her one has been diag with autism at the age of 3 she seems to believe it was from the vacs, I just don't know.

  2. On this, im with you, amy. Both of my girls get each and every vaccine required. I see no reason NOT to! Great blog..and well stated as well.

  3. I agree with getting kids vaccinated. To not do so is to put other children at risk for contracting diseases. My kids have never have any bad reactions to vaccines- but maybe I am just fortunate. Thanks for bringing up this topic.

  4. Great blog, Amy!! I vaccinate Anya because Jimmy and I have discussed as her parents that we feel this is best for her. We don't feel that GOD is leading us to do it any other way. I do respect other's decisions, but you are right that they should NOT be lying about it!

  5. A religious reason not to vaccinate could be that some vaccines contain aborted fetal cells as the starter.

    1. The only shots that "may" have been created from a one time abortion are the RUbella portion of the MMR and the chicken pox vaccine. Ongoing abortions are not necessary for these vaccines to be made. They are now duplicated in a lab and do not require abortions to be made. Even if a CHristian were to still object to these two vaccines knowing that continued abortions are not required, it does not give them the right to claim a religious exemption for all vaccinations.

  6. Interesting post! Thanks for sharing the viewpoints.

  7. As a non-vaxing mom to three kids (now 18.5, 17, 14.5), and a Christian, I have to say that I find your condescending attitude about what you perceive as "lying" pretty OFFENSIVE.

    I object on religious grounds that my Christianity and belief in God could never allow me to put such substances into my children -- mutated monkey DNA, substances created BECAUSE babies were aborted (shame on you for excusing such a thing), denatured viruses, etc; all stored in powerful, deadly chemicals that God NEVER intended to be injected INTO the perfectly created, tiny body of a human -- simply because of a well-planned and very expensive propaganda campaign designed to strike terror in the hearts of questioning adults, put together by an atheist government that wants to undermine any trust and authority it's citizens have in God, and the pharmaceutical companies who make BILLIONS of dollars off of that fear. You quote ONE Christian resource that fully supports your views, but I have more than that who support mine.....does that make my beliefs more valid to you? Then you should know better than to try and validate your judgmental attitude by throwing around quotes from an internet search -- it doesn't validate it one bit, it just seems petty. As a Christian, a religious exemption is legal simply by the fact that I believe I answer to God for how I care for my children, so making ANY choice is exercising that right and is protected under that exemption. Our "religion" absolutely calls us to raise our children the way God commands us to, and I believe that includes avoiding the poisons in immunizations! And how dare you presume to know what is going on between a Christian and God, and then pass judgement on what YOU think about it.

    Don't bother pointing out that you already said that you have no problem with parents who don't vaccinate and homeschool -- I don't believe that. Your comments, "I do take issue", "I don't take issue", show how highly you regard your own opinions about this.....and I believe that your high regard for yourself blinds you to how much disdain was dripping in your whole post. You just want to have an outlet for your Grand Disapproval. You have NO right to take any issue with something SO personal for each parent! I know you and your one source say that vaccines are safe, but how about telling that to the THOUSANDS of parents of vaccine injured children? Do you have the courage for that? Would you still feel in-the-right if you knew that one of those parents had read your post and then decided to vaccinate their child because of your admonition, and then that child was injured from that vaccine??? Or, would you absolve yourself of any responsibility for it by saying, it was their choice to make....?? If it's the latter, then you have NO BUSINESS judging what any parent does to protect their child from harm - whether YOU think harm will come, or not!

    You need to understand that WE (anti-vax parents) are caring for our kids the way we believe that God has charged US to. Why do you think that your feeling of safety about vaccine substances MUST be shared by all, and if not, we should be forced to go against our belief of what is best for our kids?? Would you ever support the government taking away a parent's right to decide if their child should go to a Christian school instead of public, or that a parent MUST send their 4yr olds to government Pre-K, "for the best interest of society"?? Vaccination choice is all about PARENTAL you think that a parent should only have rights that YOU agree with???

    I use the religious exemption to protect MY CHOICES about the heathcare of my children from our ever-overreaching government -- not to mention MY CHOICE to decide which consequences I believe are safer and want to deal with in caring for my children. These choices are God-given RIGHTS -- not "allowed" by the government.

    DON'T YOU DARE stand on a soapbox calling me a liar.

    1. Yes I do dare to write about my personal beliefs and convictions on my personal blog. That is what a personal blog is. If you are unhappy with my views, you can choose not to read it. I would encourage you to stop reading this blog. It is my blog and I will continue to express my views on it. I encourage you to share your views on your blog. I would never stop you from doing that. What is the name of your blog? You neglected to write who you are and where your blog could be found.

      I do have the courage to say this to the parents of vaccine injured children. I have never met any so I it is not that I am ashamed of my views. I have never in my 38 years of living, ever encountered any in real life. There simply aren't any in my circles. It has not happened to any person that I know.

      My post does not encourage anyone to vaccinate their children. It encourages them to stand up for what they choose and not hide behind the lie of the religious exemption. No person that is strong enough to stand up for their beliefs would read a random person's blog and say, "wow, I think I will vaccinate my child now." If they changed their mind because of my short blog post then their opinions were pretty fragile in the first place. Like I said, it is their choice to vax or not but they should not lie about it.

      I actually enjoy hearing other views and have many friends that choose to raise their children differently than I do. I don't get upset at them for believing differently. I just expect them to call it what it is. It is ok to choose not to vaccinate your children. It is not against the law. But don't claim something that it isn't. Do you really think that it is best for your child to attend public school around hundreds of other children without vaccines? If you have made the choice not to protect them, why wouldn't you homeschool them to insure that they aren't exposed? Why would you lie and send them to public school? You have other schooling options.


    2. I have every right to call a lie a lie. Just because it is your conviction to not vaccinate, doesn't make it biblical. As the law currently stands, you have every right not to vaccinate your child. You do not have a right to lie about it. You obviously don't understand what I am saying. A religious exemption is just that- an exemption designed to prevent people from breaking the rules of their religion by vaccinating. If you are claiming that vaccinating is breaking the rules of your religion because it is putting those "bad" substances in their body then you must also be against smoking, drinking alcohol and caffeine, eating sugar and other "non-healthy" substances. I hope you stay out of the sun and don't take any hormonal drugs or any antibiotics too. It isn't pick and choose. It is all or nothing.

      My Bible does call us to raise up a child which is why I choose to protect mine from deadly and deforming diseases. I believe that God wants me to keep my child safe and that my child should if possible not infect any other children.

      I would be happy to show you the thousands of articles that have been published in support of vaccinating children but I am sure you know how to use google. I chose to highlight one of articles by an author that I respect and that most Christians respect. Would you think my view more valid if I quoted thousands? No, you would just dismiss them too. As a writer, I chose to quote one person so that the post would be shorter and more readable. It is not that there is only one that supports my view. As for the many articles that support your view, I am sure none of them are "OFFENSIVE" or "condescending."

      I agree that vaccinating or not is a parental choice. That is EXACTLY what I am saying. It is a parental choice not a religious one. There is no parental choice exemption at this time. If you choose as a parent not to vaccinate then you choose not to meet the requirement for public school. That is your choice as a parent. There has to be a rule, a line drawn in the sand. Here is an example, Schools do not let children attend school when they visibly have lice. What if parents decided that the lice shampoo had too many chemicals and was more harmful than the lice itself? Should they be able to send their child to school with the lice? Is it ok for them to not treat the lice even though they may share their lice with the other students and faculty? It is there choice as a parent not to expose their children to the chemicals. Where do we draw the line between what a parent can choose and what is best for the rest of the student population?

      Thank you for sharing your views. Your tone is also condescending but I can handle it. I have the option on this blog to delete comments I don't like. I haven't done that since you are coherent, intelligent and use clean language in your post. I am not afraid to hear opposing views. That clearly shows that I am not condescending. If I was on a "soapbox" like you think, then I would have simply deleted your comments and no one would be the wiser and I could hop back on to my soap box. You are entitled to your views as I am entitled to mine. I am not offended by what you have said. You are free to express your views.

  8. Since I've mostly lost the angry energy that caused me to write such a huge comment to you, I wouldn't even be replying back now, except that I want to point a few things out to you.

    Mainly, you didn't address the real point of my comment -- that you have no right to judge others "religion" and what that calls us to do. You absolutely have the right to express your views, I didn't take any issue with THAT. I would never silence anyone, but I believe you are stepping on MY rights. That was the only thing that I wanted to express in my whole comment -- that you have NO right to judge what other parents are doing, simply because you strongly oppose their reasons. And as a Christian, you should know that -- vaccinations aren't in the Bible, but Jesus is pretty clear on what he says about passing judgement on others.

    If you are still sticking to your "lying" view, you obviously didn't GET what I said in my post -- it IS NOT a LIE to claim a religious exemption based on the reasons I gave for objecting according to my religious beliefs. You are mistaken about what you think the religious exemption personally believe that that exemption requires a person's entire religion to be against vaccinations.....but you are wrong. And as long as I meet the requirement under the law, it is NOT a lie.

    According to this lawyer ( ....."Religion goes far beyond simple membership in a church, attendance of services, adherence to prescribed dogma, or participation in various rituals.....pursuing a claim for a religious exemption from immunizations the standard which must be considered is that which is established by the United States Supreme Court. Therefore, in adherence to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantee of freedom of religion, the test in determining whether a belief constitutes a "religious belief" sufficient to qualify for the religious exemption from immunizations, is whether the adherents' beliefs and faiths occupy a place in their lives parallel to that filled by the orthodox belief in God held by others; or any other "sincere religious beliefs which are based upon a power or being, or upon a faith to which all else is subordinate or upon which all else is ultimately dependent." Sherr and Levy vs. Northport East-Northport Union Free School district, 672 F.Supp. 81, (E.D.N.Y. 1987)"

    Here is the short answer at the bottom of that link.....according to the Supreme Court, "The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from discriminating between people based on their religious beliefs. If there is any state law that allows for exemption based on religious beliefs, it is available to all those people who hold religious beliefs against immunization even if their beliefs are personal and unique to them alone."

    So as far as the government is concerned, I AM NOT lying. I didn't say that I object because I'm part of a religion that is against immunizations specifically, or that it's in my Bible. That would be lying. But claiming that vaccines go against my personal religious beliefs, shared by ME alone, is TRUE and absolutely protected by that exemption.

    I agree, a lie is a lie. But you are wrong in this case -- no one claiming a religious exemption for vaccination based on religious objections is lying, even if they are atheists. The Supreme Court has made that clear. So I believe you should stop saying things like "the lie of religious exemption" -- there is no such thing.

    The other thing I want to point out is that I was in NO way condescending in my comments to you -- not one bit! I was definitely angry and indignant, but never condescending. I'm sure of this because I don't feel like I am superior to you in any way, and that wasn't the point of blasting off angrily about your post. I want to make sure you understand that.

  9. As for the other things in your comments.....
    My comment about vaccine injured children was just an example that I wanted you to think about -- I wasn't trying to say that your post was a danger to children, I don't think it is. If someone is swayed by your post, I still think they are making their own choice, and you aren't I said, I wanted YOU to think about that, to point out that you have no right to judge other parents.

    As far as the bad substances in vaccines, and you saying "it isn't pick or choose/it's all or nothing", that is YOU again telling another person how you think they must believe in something in order for it to be valid! It IS "pick and choose"!! All religion is! That is what makes it so personal and worthy of protection from government. And the Supreme Court has affirmed that. But if you think that formaldehyde and mercury and the simian cancer virus SV40 (among other things) injected directly into the bloodstream is on the same level as sugar, caffeine, antibiotics when needed and the sun (which is GOOD for us, too).....well, that is like comparing apples and oranges.

    And I don't think your example of sending lice infected kids to school really fits our discussion. I am not saying that when my kids have Whooping Cough or Measles that I have a right to send them to school! NO WAY!! Just like I keep them home when they have colds or stomach flus! Of course children WITH sicknesses should be kept away from others. But you want to keep healthy kids away from schools because of what they MIGHT get. That's VERY different. And I think that's the true gist of what you are really so upset about --- you believe vaccinations should be forced on ALL children to protect your own, and you hate that disagreeing parents can't be forced. I wonder, would you even support removing the religious exemption all together? Do you realize how dangerous that is in principal??

    That brings me to my other question for you, that you didn't answer.....*** Why do you think that your feeling of safety about vaccine substances MUST be shared by all, and if not, we should be forced to go against our belief of what is best for our kids?? Would you ever support the government taking away a parent's right to decide if their child should go to a Christian school instead of public, or that a parent MUST send their 4yr olds to government Pre-K, "for the best interest of society"?? *** You are using this same argument about vaccines....would you still support it for this??

    But I wonder, if you HAVE made the choice to "protect" your children by vaccinating, why are you afraid of children who aren't vaccinated? Won't those shots protect them if my kids expose them to the real virus? That's the whole idea behind vaccinations, isn't it??? Maybe you (and the doctors) know that they aren't nearly as effective in protecting us as they try to claim......would you be surprised to know that this year's flu vaccine was only 9% effective against the flu?!!!! We heard that on a super-quick clip on our local news, and I looked at my husband and we just shook our heads. That means out of 100 people who got the vaccine, only 9 of them actually were protected by it. 91 people were still susceptible to the flu!!! And yet, there were not nationwide flu deaths or epidemics. Were we just lucky? Or are vaccines not as necessary as the people who make money from them want us to think???

    That's why I WOULDN'T be afraid to send my kids to public schools, because the diseases that we vaccinate against ARE NOT DEADLY. These viruses were losing their strength BEFORE vaccines were given, from increased health of people in general. And I would actually prefer that my very strong, healthy children get the REAL viruses and develop true immunity. BUT....just so you know, in my state, even as a homeschooler I have to keep a record of my children's immunizations OR my religious exemption forms.

    1. I want to make a few things crystal clear. I never said anything about not supporting a parent's right to choose their child's school. I believe that parents should have the choice on how to educate their children. Just because I choose to send my child to public school, it doesn't mean that I am opposed to people choosing Christian or home schooling. I attended Christian school for Elementary, Middle and High School. I appreciate the hard work and sacrifice that my parents made to send me there. I don't want words put into my mouth- I believe that parents have the say on which method of education is best for THEIR children.

      As far a mandated Pre-K, our state does not have that. Our state does not even mandate Kindergarten. I think that Pre-k should be up to the parents. Here in NJ it is very costly to send children to Preschool so I will be teaching my two youngest at home until they are old enough for Kindergarten in the public school. I will be joining a group of parents of preschoolers that is low cost at a nearby church.

      You read my post and came to your own judgement that I must be against freedom. That was your assumption. I am not against parental choice. I believe with vaccinations and with schooling that the choice is up to the parents. With those choices come obligations that must be followed on a state by state basis. If you choose to home school then there are requirements that must be met which vary by state. Same with vaccinations, if you choose not to vaccinate there are repercussions. You may not be able to attend certain schools without filing the necessary paperwork. That is the choice of the parent. My post is simply stating that it is my personal belief and conviction that using a religious exemption when you are a born again christian is a lie. I don't think it qualifies.

      As you clearly stated you and the attorney disagree. You are entitled to that. You quoted the letter of the law. I personally believe that the spirit of the law is not meant to allow every person to fall under the religious exemption. You will continue to use the exemption and I will continue to disagree. Since we are in America, we both have that right. You choose to believe the articles that say vaccines are dangerous and I choose to believe the ones that say the diseases are more dangerous. That is our right. I am thankful for that right. I am glad that you are strong about what you believe and willing to defend your beliefs. I am too.


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