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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Vaccination and Religion

Forty-seven states have religious exemptions from vaccination requirements.
They are problematic for a number of reasons. First, there is virtually no canonical basis for vaccine avoidance among the world’s major religions, most of which came into being before Edward Jenner developed the first widely used vaccine, against smallpox, at the end of the 18th century. Rabbis since then have repeatedly stressed the importance of protecting children through vaccination. Regardless, religious waivers provide cover to those who resist vaccines simply because they chose to question established science.
A few years ago after a measles outbreak linked to Disneyland, California got rid of its belief exemptions, leaving no parent able to excuse a child from certain shots because of hippie misconceptions or arguments about religious necessity. In November a study looking at the effects of the legislation found immunization rates of children entering kindergarten in California to have reached a near all-time high.