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Religious Exemption letters for PA?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I know some of the wording I want to use, after hearing a local lawyer discuss this issue at the Ohm's last fall, but does anyone want to share their letters (without the personal info of course)

It would put my mind at ease knowing someone else's wording and that it "passed", lol.

We started vaccine schedule in infancy with my first and stopped - so that is sort of why I am not as confident I think.
post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2tatum View Post
I know some of the wording I want to use, after hearing a local lawyer discuss this issue at the Ohm's last fall, but does anyone want to share their letters (without the personal info of course)

It would put my mind at ease knowing someone else's wording and that it "passed", lol.

We started vaccine schedule in infancy with my first and stopped - so that is sort of why I am not as confident I think.
For tatums age? I use this:

Quote:
Immunization Exemption Letter

(Current Date 00/00/2004)

To Whom It May Concern:

Re: Religious Exemption

I, ___________________________________, being the legal guardian of ________________________________ object to the immunization requirements as outlined by the Department of Health of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as defined in 28 PA. CODE CH.23 on the basis of a strong moral or ethical conviction similar to a religious belief as outlined in section § 23.84 Exemption from immunization.

If you need a copy of the School Immunizations Rules and Regulations [28 PA. CODE CH. 23] for your records, I will be happy to provide you a copy.


Sincerely,


For school age I just sign the back of the immunization card. No one's questioned anything.
post #3 of 14
I used the same one Amy used with my DS (he starts kindergarten this fall). All I did was fill in our names and sign it. I didn't get any comments on it. I got the feeling that I wasn't the only one to claim an exemption in our school district.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
I think that letter sounds confusing. It says Re: Religious exemption - which is what I want to claim. then it says I have a moral or ethical belief (or something) similar to a religious belief - and that is a philosophical exemption, according to the lawyer. In the same sentence of the law for legal exemptions, but seen as two different reasons. So, I want it to be more clear. I guess I'll just change it around to my liking, though. simpler the better. less is better. Kinda like birth, eh?
post #5 of 14
Al I do is copy the law, pretty much as above. I've never had a lick of trouble. You really don't need to be more clear. They can't question you, they just have to accept the exemption.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2tatum View Post
I think that letter sounds confusing. It says Re: Religious exemption - which is what I want to claim. then it says I have a moral or ethical belief (or something) similar to a religious belief - and that is a philosophical exemption, according to the lawyer. In the same sentence of the law for legal exemptions, but seen as two different reasons. So, I want it to be more clear. I guess I'll just change it around to my liking, though. simpler the better. less is better. Kinda like birth, eh?
Yeah you'd be claiming the religious exemption. In PA the religious exemption involves a religious or strong moral or ethical conviction similar to a religious belief. Pennsylvania’s religious exemption is very broad, and you do not need to prove your religious beliefs to obtain this exemption. But, I'd word it that way - that I have a strong moral conviction akin to a religious belief b/c that's the wording PA uses kwim?
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ok, Amy, I know you are laughing at me for being me right now but I can be a little over cautious, surprise!
I just don't like it anymore after I talked with the lawyer. Here's the thing, though. Even though both the philosophical and religious exemptions fall under the same law of a "religious exemptions", there is still a difference in how you claim it - and it would only EVER matter if you should ever have to go testify in court for some reason. Such as, what happened to a family this lawyer defended one time after a trip to the ER and calls to CYS. Most of it was preventable in hindsight, but I always think in worst case scenarios, so I want my short and sweet explanation to be clear that we have a religious objection - and NOT something "similar" to a religious belief. He was pretty clear that this would make a difference if it came to having to defend our reasons in court - like whether or not they'd try to force vaccines on your children because they don't believe your reasons, etc. And that claiming a philosophical exemption has never been tested in this state, and in NYC when it WAS tested in court, it DID NOT fly in two out of three cases and the families were required to get ALL injections within a certain time period. Craziness. However, the religious exemptions always win in court when the family has been consistent in their reasoning from the beginning of first filing exemptions. So, I am trying to be sure mine are clear. Because I am paranoid. Maybe because I've previously had a nurse (not very nicely) ask me if CYS had ever been called for us not vaccinating...that conversation disturbed me.
post #8 of 14
Hey! I've had lots of problems with schools, but never had a problem with immunization stuff. ;-)

I think the most important thing is to be consistent. Even if you wound up vaxing for a time in the beginning, I wouldn't bring it up at all...and just start with the exemption.
post #9 of 14
May 10, 2010

To Whom It May Concern:

Re: Religious Exemption, Child's Name

We, parents names, being the legal guardians of childs name, object to the vaccination requirements as outlined by the Department of Health of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as defined by 27.PA.CODE CH. 77 on the basis of a strong moral or ethical conviction similar to a religious belief as outlined in section §23.84 Exemption from immunization. On that basis, childs name will receive no further vaccinations.

Sincerely,



, mother




, father

We both signed it and just handed it with the vaccines that he had received prior to our decision to not vaccinate. The nurse called the other day (we just signed up for kindergarten) and said I needed to come in and sign the back of his vaccination card too. I will definitely be reading that very closely before signing it. Since I know they can check the registry and I am not sure if our previous doc has submitted anything I figured it better to let them know he had some and we then changed our minds.
post #10 of 14
Can I ask who the lawyer was and why you think you need to make a record in this particular document? I agree with others (and take my own kids's exemption this way) that restating the law is the safest route. If you think your religious beliefs may be questioned in the future, there are lots of ways you can create a record. An overly complicated exemption support letter can create problems.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Just wanting to be consistent from the beginning, that's all. I usually make things more complicated than need be. I know that. But, I want it to be clear it is for religious reasons, not just philosophical. I changed a few words, added one sentence and sent it in. I will probably be sick until I hear back about the next step for him going to preschool.
post #12 of 14
I hear ya. But I think this is a "less is more" document.

Also, as a practicing PA lawyer who has never heard of anyone having exemption troubles in a non-parochial school in PA, I'm really curious to know about this case that spooked you. You can PM me with the info if you are more comfortable.
post #13 of 14
My daughter is in private Catholic school in PA and the nurse is pressing for meningococcal vaccine. My daughter had meningitis a few years ago and I refuse to allow this to be done. Will religious exemption work in this case? Also, is there somewhere I should send it to make it official? Notarized? Thanks so much.
post #14 of 14
It is the law to take religious exemption in ALL schools in PA if you are not vaccinating due to a strong moral opposition close to a religious belief. Which just the fact you are on here -I'm thinking that is yes. This differs from NJ's religious exemption (which has to do with what is stated in your organized religion). Private and catholic schools are not exempt from this law - however it seems often the staff members are not aware of that fact. Im in similar situation with school nurse at private catholic school in PA.
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