In the state of South Carolina, vaccines to attend school or a licensed daycare are mandatory. However, there are two types of exemptions: medical and religious.
A medical exemption is self-explanatory. These are people who cannot receive a vaccine for medical reasons, such as an allergy or an immune deficiency. These individuals rely on herd immunity since they are unable to be vaccinated themselves. A healthcare provider must approve a medical exemption.
However, a religious exemption means that the individual has an opposition to vaccines based on the tenets of their religion. The fact is that there are no major religions that expressly prohibit vaccinations. In fact, many view them as beneficial. The religious exemption is the method of choice for those who oppose vaccinations, either in whole or in part, and is the leading cause of rising outbreaks. The form is easy to obtain and requires a notary, but does not actually ask any questions pertaining to religion.
In allowing those who can vaccinate to opt out, we put all South Carolinians at risk of contracting vaccine preventable diseases. There are many diseases, such as measles and whooping cough, that need high vaccination rates in order to keep out disease. Even a few unvaccinated individuals clustered in the same school or the same day care can open everyone up to an outbreak.
Children who have received organ transplants, children undergoing cancer treatment, children too young to receive an immunization, children with other immune deficiencies, they all have a right to go to school or daycare. Their parents have a right to send them there without fearing for their lives.
It’s time that we close the loophole. It’s time that we protect our children.