Too many parents take advantage of the ‘religious freedom’ vaccine loophole

Madison Bryan, [email protected]

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Children are highly susceptible to diseases, which is why it is so important to have them vaccinated. However, for other children with weak immune systems or cancer, that is simply not an option. Due to loopholes related to religious freedom, some parents can get away with not having their children vaccinated.

While religious freedom is important as citizens of the U.S., the refusal to vaccinate is not only putting the child at risk, but the community around them as well. Most parents take advantage of the religious freedom exemptions, which results in a decrease in herd immunity.

Herd immunity is a process that protects children who cannot get vaccinated due to health issues or who are simply too young to complete their vaccinations. It uses the environment around them to diminish the chances of diseases being spread. If more people in a given community are vaccinated, outbreaks are less likely to occur.

With a decline in herd immunity, deadly diseases are more likely to make a return and cause more widespread damage. Most of the public believed in accusations that vaccines contain harmful ingredients such as mercury because of articles getting published that contained misinformation.

An article published by Rolling Stones contained a claim that mixed up ethyl- and methylmercury. This article led to parents all over the U.S. denying their child vaccinations. The article stated vaccines contained methylmercury, but they actually contain ethylmercury. Even though this misunderstanding was proven to be false, researchers still had to convince the public that vaccines were not there to harm children.

Now vaccines are better than ever, yet parents still refuse to believe all the proof provided for them. Vaccines are not enforced as heavily as they should be, with some states allowing uncomplicated exemptions without further question. Most parents against vaccines are finding that freedom of religion is allowing them to send their children to school without their vaccinations, indirectly endangering the other children and community around them. Because there is no solid procedure in place to prove what religion a person does or does not practice, they can get away with not having to update their childen on their shots.

If someone admitted to lying on a federal form, they would blatantly be ignoring their requirement as a parent in the state and community. Since they also would not have solid proof of their religion, they would be taking advantage of the freedom of religion we have in the U.S. and using it to their advantage for reasons unknown. For this reason, religious belief should not be included as a reason to withhold from vaccinations, as it can easily be taken advantage of and used under misleading circumstances.

Vaccines have saved massive amounts of people. They are miracles that are being ignored and taken for granted around the world. Parents are using religions they do not believe in to get out of vaccinating their children, which is extremely dangerous for the overall health of the nation. With the evidence that vaccines do not directly cause harm to children and to keep this issue from spreading further, there is no reason a healthy child should not be vaccinated.