The Age of Autism Week In a Number: 1938
Gardasil Impact: From SaneVax

Back-to-School Shots

Back To School Vax Exemption
By Cathy Jameson

We shared this post about back-to-school shots in September of 2014.  Before more schools begin another academic year, we thought we'd update the post and share it again. 


Ronan started school this week.  He was severely affected by vaccines.  He’s non-verbal, completely dependent on others and has autism.  Because of other medical issues that stemmed from the vaccine injury, Ronan’s on a modified school day only able to attend school for a few hours a day and only a few days a week.  Before this school year started, I dropped off some paperwork to the school:  Ronan’s health care plan, his seizure plan and his vaccine exemption form.  Until I’m assured that vaccines truly are safe and effective, that vaccine exemption form will accompany him each year until he graduates. 

Back-to-school letters from school administration typically include a cheerful welcome.  An announcement or two about what to expect on the first day back and a kind request to drop off school supplies including any remaining forms might be added in the letter, too.  Ronan’s school recently sent out a back-to-school announcement.  Included was a memo about ‘back-to-school’ shots with a message that made it sound like he had to get them or he wouldn’t be allowed to attend school.  I appreciate the gentle reminder to wrap up our summer fun, but I do not care to be told incomplete and inaccurate information.  I especially don’t like it when that sort of information is demanded as the tone of the messages I received most certainly was a demand.

With the opportunity schools have with the large population they serve, instead of properly educating parents that vaccines are optional, I find that they’ve misinterpreted laws, altered wording and have been allowed to make absurd vaccine demands.  Making vaccine demands is both troubling and fascinating.  Troubling because some people would never think to question a school policy and fascinating because literature parents are given elsewhere about vaccines may state otherwise.

Why are dictator-like demands being handed down to parents?  For many, to say get-vaccines-or-your-child-can’t-come-to-school is untrue.  And honestly, it’s dangerous.  Fortunately, for those who cannot or do not want to get vaccines, due to contraindications to medical conditions or because of religious belief for example, opting out of vaccines is still possible in some states.  (Opting out is actually a terrible term to use because, for the majority in the US, vaccines on the CDC’s schedule are merely recommended.)

It’s a shame that parents feel the vaccine heat from schools.  Instead of focusing on administering first aid when it’s necessary, school nurses have been allowed to become school shot Nazis.  The very people who can educate parents don’t.  What do parents do?  Blindly trust?  Yes.  Let their guard down?  More often than not, yes.  They do both because they haven’t figured out or learned that need to keep their guard up.  I was that parent when I let fear and a school nurse persuade a decision I now know I didn’t have to make.  That decision is one I regret to this day. 

I recently witnessed a student being told she must get the shot or she will not be allowed into school.  Worse, the young girl was told her the shot would be good for her.  I wonder if the nurse based her opinion with information from a vaccine study from the CDC.  With the recent allegations coming from a CDC scientist who authored a study that includes apparent fraud, the school nurse is not only telling half-truths, she might very well be citing falsified information. 

If parents chose to vaccinate that’s a decision they should make on their own.  It should never be a made because someone bullied, persuaded or worse, demanded it of them.  Never.

I can only hope and pray that the student’s parents know to look up what is actually required and to then exercise their rights to know that they can say no, thank you when the school comes around looking for documentation. 

I know better how to advocate for my children because of past vaccine decisions I made.  I educated myself enough to know that even though a nurse said my children had to get shots to get into school, I discovered that no, my children could not be barred from school entry if they did not get the vaccines she said they needed.  Unfortunately, I learned that fact after I’d already begun to vaccinate my children though.  I wish I’d started learning sooner because what I also learned is that vaccines come with no warranty, no guarantee and should vaccine cause a reaction, no one would be sticking around after the fact to help me or my child.  That was a tough lesson to learn.

Not all back-to-school letters and supply lists need to include vaccines.  If your state offers exemptions, I wish that that information would be a part of any and every vaccine communication that comes from the schools.  I asked Ronan’s new school nurse to please consider adding exemption information to future vaccine messages.  It really don’t think it would be too hard to do.  It’s as simple as including a link or directing parents to search their state’s particular vaccine exemption information.  One line is all it takes: “…vaccine exemptions can be submitted…download this form or follow these directions…”  Easy, right?  Sadly, I find didn’t find that information included in the latest back-to-school paperwork I got from the school. 

Maybe they will include the information next year.

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.


To search vaccine exemptions state-by-state, follow this link to the National Vaccine Information Center’s website. 



cia parker

And there's still a religious exemption available in 47 states. It's just a question of making people aware of it and how desirable it is to take it.

Betty Bona

Two of my children went to a highly gifted talented summer program until they were 17. Every summer I had to dig up my forms with the medical exemptions on them (which didn't really cover everything, but I just waited to be challenged and never was) until the program started sending out personal exemption forms with their packet. They made it so easy! I didn't bother with my limited medical exemptions any longer. I wish schools would do that! I think they had a lot of parents who claimed exemptions every year, so they just helped us out.

Now that my kids are in college, two doses of the MMR are required. I had to search for the way to be exempt. Mine did, unfortunately, get two doses, so they don't need to go through the process to claim an exemption. At least they won't be excluded from school if there is an outbreak.

One kid is going to a college where the new, experimental Meningitis B vaccine is highly recommended and pushed. They don't tell you it is experimental, but they do tell you that the side effects are rare and are generally just a sore arm for a few days. It's a three dose series, and my son remembers his sore arm from his early childhood vaccines, and he plays sports where a sore arm is a problem, so I'm not too worried that he will give in to the pressure. I'm glad he can still say, "No thanks", but I'm betting that won't last all four years.

Jeannette Bishop

Teachers were originally included in the California SB 792 childcare vaccine mandate bill. The billed was trimmed to apply to daycare and preschool teachers, because, if I understand correctly, there was opposition in the teachers' union(s). I don't know if we ever got outright opposition to SB 277 from the teacher's unions (I think there was a noteworthy withholding of endorsement--someone might be more aware of this history than me).

But if there is not some quick education on the risk side, the harm that has been and is being done, the lack of liability and integrity in the system, the 200+ vaccines coming out, and I think, some across-the-board support for ending SB 277, stopping bills like California SB 792, those working in the schools will be getting their own mandatory vaccine reminders in order to keep their jobs, maybe each year, in the not very distant future.

We all will be after that, I think.

And then we can watch our "health" authorities muse that much more over the mysterious declining of life expectancy, increasing epidemics of dementia, diabetes, various "genetic" disorders, etc. and wherever possible blame us for not eating the right balance of GMO containing foods, or something.

Angus Files

In Scotland UK they have "rolled out" the ACWY vaccine "in response to a rise in the number of cases of meningitis W".

The Scottish Health Minister Shona Robinson has recommended this.
Needless to say neither of my 2 boys who are eligible to have it, will be having it..not me speaking them ..well one speaking the other is low functioning non verbal autism..with the,as his school says "mental school assessed age of around two years old, at best"

Your article Cathy, brings me back to when our Autistic child was 4 years old and we refused the "booster MMR" for him, after the devastation the first MMR did to him.

The doctor said " but he could get mumps, if you don't give him the booster, which could result in him being sterile" a deep breath, and a sigh from me..replying" well in his current mess he is never likely to know what a family is,sooo why would he want to start one" .Sadly the status Quo remains the same...


White Rose

Oh how the times have changed ? The FDA isn't what it used to be - Dr Jeff Bradstreet RIP

Anti-thalidomide hero Frances Oldham Kelsey dies at 101

White Rose

love it - vaccine exemption needs to be at the top of course . And if there isn't one , then home school .

BOYCOTT all vaccines . And don't board any cattle trains to eastern Europe either - no matter what the cost.

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