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Required vaccinations for Jewish camp

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
After extensive research, I decided not to vaccinate my children years ago. Until this point, schools, etc. were not a problem - I simply turned in a religious exemption (based on my personal religious beliefs). However, the summer camp my kids have attended for many years has made vaccinations mandatory. Here is my predicament - since this is a private camp, I have no legal right to require them to accept a religious exemption. The only thing they will accept is a medical exemption and I don't know a doctor who will give me one. I could just not send my son this year, but he is VERY attached to going and, as a 13 year old, thinks all my concern about health is "lame." I'm sure he would choose to get the shots in order to go. SO - either I find a doctor who will give me a medical exemption or have a huge blow up in my house that will last for months (trust me on this - I have very intense children) or I let him get some of the shots (the camp director has told me that he could come if he had "started" his vaccination schedule and had a few of the major shots - MMR, DPT, etc.). Anyone have any thoughts on this? Anyone know a way to get a medical exemption? My son did have one tetanus shot when he was a toddler and I do feel it has contributed to his hyperactivity.
post #2 of 26
First I would find out if the camp receives any public funding...ANY. Like for lunches or food or anything like that. Many of the "private" ones do.

If not...well I can just tell you what I would do.

I would no way vaccinate my child so he could go to camp. Especially if you feel that a previous vaccine has contributed to his hyperactivity. He may be angry at you, but your job as his mother is to protect him when he can't protect himself. He will get over being angry and one day may thank you.

There are three things that could happen

1) you vaccinate him and he seems none the worse for wear...goes to camp and all is well, but in the back of your mind you will wonder what long-term, down the raod problems he may encounter because of this assult on his immune system

2) You vaccinate him and he has reactions and problems that are obviously related to the vaccines (at least to you they are) and you beat yourself up about it and are left to deal with the ensuing health problem.

3) You tell him you are sorry but this year he has to find another camp and explain why. Tell him you are doing what you feel is best for his health and someday when he is older he will understand, but then you have to deal with an angry adolescent for a while.

none of the choices are great, I guess it is about what you are willing to live with.
post #3 of 26
Can you find a different camp for him? My son's camp has never asked for shot records. That's just strange to me.

I wouldn't vaccinate at all and especially not for a camp. They're in Business, right? Let them lose business.
post #4 of 26
My pediatrician does not vaccinate. I don't know if she would do a medical exemption for a patient she has not examined, but it's worth a shot.

Here's her contact info:
www.sabinacare.com
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marnica View Post
First I would find out if the camp receives any public funding...ANY. Like for lunches or food or anything like that. Many of the "private" ones do.

If not...well I can just tell you what I would do.

I would no way vaccinate my child so he could go to camp. Especially if you feel that a previous vaccine has contributed to his hyperactivity. He may be angry at you, but your job as his mother is to protect him when he can't protect himself. He will get over being angry and one day may thank you.

There are three things that could happen

1) you vaccinate him and he seems none the worse for wear...goes to camp and all is well, but in the back of your mind you will wonder what long-term, down the raod problems he may encounter because of this assult on his immune system

2) You vaccinate him and he has reactions and problems that are obviously related to the vaccines (at least to you they are) and you beat yourself up about it and are left to deal with the ensuing health problem.

3) You tell him you are sorry but this year he has to find another camp and explain why. Tell him you are doing what you feel is best for his health and someday when he is older he will understand, but then you have to deal with an angry adolescent for a while.

none of the choices are great, I guess it is about what you are willing to live with.
I agree with all of this.

I think it is our job as parents to protect our children. If you believe that vaccines will damage your children (long term and/or short term), then you should not vaccinate. I know it's going to suck for your son, but that's life. In 20-40 years, if he develops cancer or some other autoimmune disease, do you think he's going to look back and thank you for vaxing him so he could spend 3 weeks at summer camp at 13? If he has an immediate bad reaction and can't go, will you be happy that you had him vaxed for a few weeks of fun?

He's old enough to understand that sometimes life isn't fair. He isn't old enough to understand the long term (and short term) risks of vaccinating and weighing that decision properly. That's what he has parents for.
post #6 of 26
No way.

Its not just one vax, it is ALL of them. For summer camp? Nope, no way, wouldn't do it.

I would contact the director again and say, very calmly, that your unvaxed children have been attending this camp for X number of years with no issues. They currently attend school, with no issues. And if they are not willing to accept your religious exemption than you will have to take your business elsewhere, reluctantly, but with no regrets.

Yes, your son will be disappointed, and that is the hardest part of this whole thing. But there are lots of fun camps out there. Could you take some time and choose a new one together? Does he have any special interests, like a sport, performing arts, computers, science, etc.? Put a positive spin on it and treat it as an opportunity to try something new, rather than what he losing out on.
post #7 of 26
I would not seriously consider vaccinating your child just to go to a particular summer camp if I were you, especially since you probably have put a lot of energy into making the decision not to vax and you think that your son may have had a reaction after the Tetanus shot.

If you really want your child to go to that particular camp, I think that what I would do is call (or write a letter to) the Director again, tell him that you are not going to vaccinate your child just so that he can go to camp, but that you really want your son to be able to attend, because he has attended for several years and has really made some close friends. If you can, find out why the policy has been changed and if there is anyone you can talk to about this. Perhaps the Director is not the person who made this decision and the Board (if there is one) made this decision to simplify things. If this is the case, you may be able to talk to someone about it and get results. Perhaps they will want you to sign a waiver of some sort, and you will have to decide if you are comfortable with that. You may even be able to attend a board meeting to discuss this. This all may be too much for you to do, but I thought I'd share some ideas since I was previously a camp administrator. I hope your son can attend the camp, I know that as a teen I would have been disappointed to not be able to attend my favorite camp! Good luck!
post #8 of 26

I was just going to post this very same topic...looking into sending my 10 year old to Jewish summer camp this summer (she's been begging me for 2 years) and I came across this letter online regarding the camp: http://newman.urjcamps.org/_kd/Items/actions.cfm?action=Show&item_id=1549&destination=ShowItem

Basically, it says that children who are not vaccinated "should not expect to be able to attend camp."

 

I see that some of the responses here are along the lines of "there are lots of great camps, find a different one" but you have to understand something about Jewish camp...it's a very special experience, especially for children who are used to being in the minority at their schools and in their communities (which is true for my children, they are two of a very small handful of Jewish children at our school). For kids like this to be able to experience being with other Jewish children in a positive, warm Jewish environment for summer camp is incredible and was a huge part of my own Jewish identity-making when I was my daughter's age. In any case, she could go to art camp or horse camp or whatever, and it would be awesome fun, but it wouldn't be Jewish camp, which is truly what we want for her (and later, for her brother).

 

Are there any Jewish parents out there who have had success with enrolling their child in Jewish summer camps with out vaccinating them? I'm not about to get my kid the jab now just so she can go to camp, but I really want to find a way she can go...

post #9 of 26

I would do a search for a DAN doctor and ask if they would do a medical exemption.

 

As non-vaxing became increasingly debated in the media Jewish Day Schools started tightening their immunization policy; that movement may have just made its way to the summer camps. Also, not too long ago there was a mumps outbreak at a Jewish summer camp in NY; that may be influencing the policy as well.


Edited by Emmeline II - 2/4/11 at 4:00pm
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post

I would do a search for a DAN doctor and ask it they would do a medical exemption.

 

Evading a mitzvah tends to be frowned upon (see, e.g., "Fish, Yonah in belly of").

post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post

I would do a search for a DAN doctor and ask it they would do a medical exemption.

 

Evading a mitzvah tends to be frowned upon (see, e.g., "Fish, Yonah in belly of").



What mitzvah is being evaded? One is not expected to perform mitzvot to their own detriment (see, e.g., sick people not fasting on Yom Kippur).

post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ammiga View Post

What mitzvah is being evaded? One is not expected to perform mitzvot to their own detriment (see, e.g., sick people not fasting on Yom Kippur).


The recommendation was a frank suggestion to seek purchase of a medical exemption. It's an evasion of pikuakh nefesh and not particularly cool re takanat hakahal.

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by ammiga View Post

What mitzvah is being evaded? One is not expected to perform mitzvot to their own detriment (see, e.g., sick people not fasting on Yom Kippur).


The recommendation was a frank suggestion to seek purchase of a medical exemption. It's an evasion of pikuakh nefesh and not particularly cool re takanat hakahal.

 

How in the world is seeking a medical exemption for your child an evasion of "saving a human life"? Seems to be in direct compliance. At least, it does for someone on the "I'm Not Vaccinating" board.

 

Not sure what "takanat hakahal"... maybe something is lost in transliteration. But, I'm pretty sure it would also be open to interpretation based on whether or not one finds vaccines to be damaging or helpful. Opinions on this board would tend to lean towards damaging, which means we need to do all we can to protect human life.

 

I did not interpret the recommendation to be to purchase a medical exemption, but to talk to a doctor whose views line up with her own. Seems like a perfectly normal suggestion to me. All of my friends and family seek the care of doctors whose medical beliefs and treatments line up with their own beliefs and desired care.


 

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ammiga View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by ammiga View Post

What mitzvah is being evaded? One is not expected to perform mitzvot to their own detriment (see, e.g., sick people not fasting on Yom Kippur).


The recommendation was a frank suggestion to seek purchase of a medical exemption. It's an evasion of pikuakh nefesh and not particularly cool re takanat hakahal.

 

How in the world is seeking a medical exemption for your child an evasion of "saving a human life"? Seems to be in direct compliance. At least, it does for someone on the "I'm Not Vaccinating" board.

 

Perhaps this aspect of the topic would fare more appropriately on Spirituality.

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by ammiga View Post

What mitzvah is being evaded? One is not expected to perform mitzvot to their own detriment (see, e.g., sick people not fasting on Yom Kippur).


The recommendation was a frank suggestion to seek purchase of a medical exemption. It's an evasion of pikuakh nefesh and not particularly cool re takanat hakahal.


No, it was not a recommendation to purchase an exemption as DAN doctors are not in the business of selling them. As a pp pointed out, a DAN doctor is more likely to view vaccination and its effects on the body as the pp does.

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by ammiga View Post

What mitzvah is being evaded? One is not expected to perform mitzvot to their own detriment (see, e.g., sick people not fasting on Yom Kippur).


The recommendation was a frank suggestion to seek purchase of a medical exemption. It's an evasion of pikuakh nefesh and not particularly cool re takanat hakahal.


No, it was not a recommendation to purchase an exemption as DAN doctors are not in the business of selling them. As a pp pointed out, a DAN doctor is more likely to view vaccination and its effects on the body as the pp does.


If the first DAN doctor didn't provide an exemption, would you suggest trying a different one?

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ammiga View Post

Not sure what "takanat hakahal"... maybe something is lost in transliteration. But, I'm pretty sure it would also be open to interpretation based on whether or not one finds vaccines to be damaging or helpful. Opinions on this board would tend to lean towards damaging, which means we need to do all we can to protect human life.

 

Takanat hakahal appears to mean community declaration/ordinance.

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post


No, it was not a recommendation to purchase an exemption as DAN doctors are not in the business of selling them. As a pp pointed out, a DAN doctor is more likely to view vaccination and its effects on the body as the pp does.


If the first DAN doctor didn't provide an exemption, would you suggest trying a different one?

 

 

Personally, I would do my best to research ahead of time (as I do every time I am considering a doctor); if the doctor is practicing in the DAN philosophy then it is likely that they would do an exemption. If the doctor denied it, depending on why (the likelihood that most any DAN doctor would/would not agree), I might try another.

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post

No, it was not a recommendation to purchase an exemption as DAN doctors are not in the business of selling them. As a pp pointed out, a DAN doctor is more likely to view vaccination and its effects on the body as the pp does.


If the first DAN doctor didn't provide an exemption, would you suggest trying a different one?

 

Personally, I would do my best to research ahead of time (as I do everytime I am considering a doctor); if the doctor is practicing in the DAN protocol then it appears likely that they would do an exemption. If the doctor denied it, depending on why (they likelihood that most any DAN doctor would/would not agree), I might try another.

 

Very well. This still strikes me as outcome-seeking and evasion, which I take differently in the context of a religious summer camp (with the caveat that I know nothing about the camp or camps in question) than I do in terms of mandatory public education. If religious objections, which are often enough described as being of the "I belong to the Church of Me, Haha!" variety, are to be taken seriously, should not the requirements of a religious community or organization in the other direction be afforded equal respect?

 

[ETA.--I should add that this is entirely tangential to PP's original question, which suggested nothing of the sort.]

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by ammiga View Post

What mitzvah is being evaded? One is not expected to perform mitzvot to their own detriment (see, e.g., sick people not fasting on Yom Kippur).


The recommendation was a frank suggestion to seek purchase of a medical exemption. It's an evasion of pikuakh nefesh and not particularly cool re takanat hakahal.


No, it was not a recommendation to purchase an exemption as DAN doctors are not in the business of selling them. As a pp pointed out, a DAN doctor is more likely to view vaccination and its effects on the body as the pp does.


If the first DAN doctor didn't provide an exemption, would you suggest trying a different one?


If you went to a doctor whose views didn't line up with what you expected and needed from a medical provider, would you try a different one?

 

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