Why medical reasons should be the only exemptions from vaccinations

AMA Wire
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As the debate around vaccinations continues to rage in the public, outbreaks of dangerous preventable diseases have continued to increase. For public health experts, the question has become, “Should individuals be given exemptions from required immunizations for non-medical reasons?” Physicians provided some answers with policy passed at the 2015 AMA Annual Meeting.

Immunization programs in the Unites States are credited with having controlled or eliminated the spread of epidemic diseases, including smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria and polio. Immunization requirements vary from state to state, but only two states bar non-medical exemptions based on personal beliefs.

“When people are immunized they also help prevent the spread of disease to others," AMA Board of Trustees Member Patrice A. Harris, MD, said in a news release. “As evident from the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland, protecting community health in today’s mobile society requires that policymakers not permit individuals from opting out of immunization solely as a matter of personal preference or convenience.”

Policies adopted at the meeting call for immunization of the population—absent a medical reason for not being vaccinated—because disease exposure, importation, infections and outbreaks can occur without warning in communities, particularly those that do not have high rates of immunization. That begins with health care professionals involved in direct patient care, who have an obligation to accept vaccinations to prevent the spread of infectious disease and ensure the availability of the medical workforce.

Other policies include:

  • Supporting the development and evaluation of educational efforts, based on scientific evidence and in collaboration with health care providers, that support parents who want to help educate and encourage their peers who are reluctant to vaccinate their children
  • Disseminating materials about the effectiveness of vaccines to states
  • Encouraging states to eliminate philosophical and religious exemptions from state immunization requirements
  • Recommending that states have an established decision mechanism that involves qualified public health physicians to determine which vaccines will be mandatory for admission to school and other identified public venues

These policies aim to minimize the risk of outbreaks and protect vulnerable individuals from acquiring preventable but serious diseases.

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I grew up before vaccinations were available and I lived through measles, mumps, chickenpox, rubella and whooping cough and had several friends with polio. From my perspective, any parent who does not vaccinate their children for these diseases is abusing their child more than if they spanked them with a switch. Those sicknesses were miserable; I survived, but they were awful.
I grew up before vaccinations were available and I lived through measles, mumps, chickenpox, rubella and whooping cough and had several friends with polio. From my perspective, any parent who does not vaccinate their children for these diseases is abusing their child more than if they spanked them with a switch. Those sicknesses were miserable; I survived, but they were awful.
If you (@johndykersmed) say that parents are abusing their children by not vaccinating then you are ignoring the evidence of vaccine harms-- evidence that is given by parental reports of vaccine injury, by vaccine injuries paid out by the "vaccine court," and by the many studies that show that we should be concerned about "too many shots" and vaccine ingredients such as aluminum and thimerosal (yes it's still in multidose flu shots.) These studies are all ignored by the AMA and the CDC, which is the only way they can continue to push more and more vaccines on us.
Perhaps you should check your facts.<br/> Approved Vaccines are safe and effective. <br/> The flu vaccine is effective against the strain it was made from. If a different strain is being spread it will be less effective. And the HPV studies are a decade old already and have proven safe and amazingly effective. <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4262378/" rel='nofollow'>http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4262378/</a>
INFORMED CONSENT: As physicians, we must understand that we must agree and that such as "these truths are 'self-evident'..." this is a matter of fundamental human rights. We, the AMA, especially the Council of Medical & Judicial Affairs should have vetted this ill-advised policy. The issue for us, as physicians is first to respect the fundamental dignity of every human being, and always make room for consent before any Medical treatment. I do not believe any medical urgency or circumstances here exist where we may reasonably presume consent. I believe the issue of vaccination, in addition to technical and biological & public health concerns, must give way to this fundamental human right. The gravity of "ends-means" analysis creates grave concerns. The Geneva "Consent." The threshold issue is consent. Our AMA ethical and professional cannons require Consent before treatment. Physicians error gravely when we assume to become paternalistic and neglect to observe this fundamental dignity of humanity. From the Declaration of Independence and again the Geneva Convention affirmed what we already knew as expressed since 1776. Physicians are necessary guardians of human dignity and fundamental personal liberty. I have been reaching out to the AMA Council on Med. & Judicial Affairs to hear my plea on this issue. Our AMA should never recommend policy that minimizes "Consent." Furthermore, this policy also presumes physicians "public health" role trumps the physician as individually loyal to each patient. Please reconsider and may we who dissent for reasons of the concern that we never trample any fundamental human right. While I concur on the beneficence of vaccines, this is not enough to overcome patient autonomy. Nor other ethical and legal concerns, including the The Patient Self Determination Act, and the Current reading of the 4th Amendment to The Constitution of The United States by The Supreme Court of The United States in Row vs Wade. Please may we hear my plea further before The Council on Med. & Judicial Affairs. <br/> Most Sincerely,<br/> Michael G. Anderson, MD, ESQ, FAAP, FCLM<br/> Fellow American College of Legal Medicine<br/> Attending Physician, Med. Director, Gen Counsel<br/> Admitted to practice before The Supreme Court of The United States. [email protected]
I was terminated after almost fourteen years of employment because I declined a flu vaccination. I have two physician statements (pcp and allergist) indicating that I have a medical contraindication to the flu vaccination. My pcp had submitted a declination form for the last twelve years that was always accepted until the thirteenth year. I have been unemployed for over a year although I have been searching diligently. Please think about what you are doing to those of us who don't fit your profiles.
Attempting to gain 100% compliance on vaccines will always be an issue when there is not 100% safety on vaccines. Spend the time and money on assuring safety and effectiveness will assure 100% compliance.

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