Parents lobby for choice to opt out of childhood vaccinations - - Jackson, MS

Parents lobby for choice to opt out of childhood vaccinations


Mississippi was recently praised by the CDC for the highest kindergarten vaccination rates in the country. Now, there's a move to change the system.

48 states allow for some form of non-medical exemptions to childhood vaccinations. The Mississippi Supreme Court previously ruled that a religious exemption was unconstitutional.

One group of parents doesn't want the state telling them what they have to do when it comes to their kids' vaccines.

"Vaccines don't always work and they also have risk and considering those things people should not be held down to this huge schedule that starts the day they were born," explained Mary Jo Perry.

Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights is backing House Bill 130. It would allow for a "conscientious beliefs" exemption. The state already allows medical exemptions. But Perry doesn't want folks to get their purpose twisted.

"Parents have legitimate concerns and we don't appreciate being called anti-vaccine," Perry described. "We have legitimate concerns. 49 vaccines by kindergarten is a big load."

Perry's son had seizures following some of his shots. That's why she's lobbying for a change in the system.

"Some of us have children that had reactions to vaccines," Perry said. "Some of us have bona fide vaccine injured children and have had to fight the state to protect our other children or even just to vaccinate more slowly."

It's important to point out that state law requires full immunization before a child enters school. UMMC Pediatric Professor and Physician William Sorey says that's an important distinction.

"That requirement is not for your child as much as it is every other child," said Sorey. "Daycare is kind of like a germ soup. There are a lot of germs that go around, despite the best hand washing, the best hygiene, the best everything. These microbes spread especially the viruses."

Sorey doesn't look at vaccines as an option.

"This is a life or death deal here," Sorey explained.

Sorey points to the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland. He says it's the latest proof that vaccinating your child can protect not only them, but those around them.

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