Contrary to popular belief (some schools will even be dishonest with you until you remind them of the law) your children DO NOT have to be immunized to attend school. Almost every state in the US offers at least two types of exemptions: medical and religious. The only 3 exceptions are California, Mississippi, and West Virginia, which only offer medical exemptions.
Some of us, however, may be unsure exactly how to go about getting this religious exemption. The following link will walk you through everything you’ll need to know in order to obtain your religious exemption. Included in the article below is:
- A link to your state’s exemption laws.
- Detailed information that you will need to include in the letter you will write to obtain religious exemption as well as information NOT to include in your letter, complete with CDC and other government sources to cite as well as the applicable Bible verses that will also need to be cited.
- Short, succinct responses to any questions you may be asked to defend your position (if you are required to do so by your child’s school).
Since I have just gone through this process, I’ll add some extra information for those of you who will be obtaining your religious exemption in the state of Alabama. In Alabama, our right to a religious exemption is protected under Alabama Code Title 16. Education 16-30-3.
The first step is to contact your local health department and schedule an appointment to come in and sign the paperwork to obtain a religious exemption. Here is a link with the contact numbers of the health department in each county in Alabama:
Click on the link, select your county, then click on the “contact us” link to get a phone number.
My appointment was scheduled with the Marshall County Health Department. At this appointment, I was required to watch a video from the Alabama Department of Public Health to inform me of the “risks and benefits of vaccination” and to “discuss the risks of not having my child immunized.”
Be forewarned: this video is nothing short of propaganda and filled with misleading statements, incomplete information (I’ll just call them what they are- “lies of omission”), as well as outright incorrect information. So, do your research BEFORE you go so that you won’t be thrown off by false claims.
If you need to brush up on the basics, you can check out my post, “6 Things You Need to Know When Deciding Whether or Not to Vaccinate.”
Also, in the video, the term “herd immunity” is used as if this concept is fact. If you are unfamiliar with this, you can check out my article, “Do High Rates of Vaccination Make Us Safe? Let’s Talk About Herd Immunity.”
After the video, you’ll sign some forms, then you’ll be given your exemption certificate to give to your child’s school, daycare, etc. You’ll need one for each child.
*Note* While I was not required to submit a “letter” detailing how vaccinations conflict with my religious beliefs, there was a section on the form where I had to document that information. I highly encourage you to include a shortened version of the information that is presented in the Living Whole blog post above, complete with cited Bible verses. Some states are in the process of making it more difficult to obtain a religious exemption, so you might as well have your bases covered. I actually went ahead and wrote a letter that they attached with the forms I filled out so that a more complete explanation would be on file.
Now go get those exemptions!!