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WIC - monthly visits for the non-vaxed

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Is mine the only state that requires monthly visits to pick up vouchers simply because one of my kids is "behind" on her vaxes, and the other is completely non-vaxed? (I'm in Tennessee.) Because sitting there for two hours, once a month is really, really, really obnoxious. The baby hasn't even been seen by the nurse in 3 months, but we still have to go through the paperwork person, the nutritionist, and then the voucher person. Every. Stinking. Month. I'm not sure what this accomplishes.

Every time I go in, they say, "Do you have their shot records?" I say, "I have a religious exemption." And they say, "You DO realize that that means you're going to have to come in once a month." And the nasty little voice in my head says, "You have a chart in front of you with eight months' worth of paper in it. You think I haven't figured out that I will be forced to come in monthly?" But I don't say that out loud, I just say, "I know."

What do they think I'm going to say? "Oh, in that case, PLEASE, inject my children. I mean, I'm philosophically and religiously against it, but by if it means I only have to come in every other month, go for it!"

I would LIKE to only have to go in every other month, but I'm not going to vaccinate my kids to make that happen.

Is every state like this, or am I just lucky?
post #2 of 22
Ask them to show you the regulation that requires this....actually demand it.
post #3 of 22
I'd also ask them why you're being discriminated against based on your religion.
post #4 of 22
Yeah! What Moondiapers said!
post #5 of 22
It is true that you come in monthly if you are behind on vaccinations UNLESS you have a religious exemption. I would tell them that they are violating your Civil Rights by discriminating against you because of your religious beliefs. I would encourage them to doublecheck their regulations and remind them that coming in monthly ONLY applies if someone is behind on vaccinations and does NOT have a religious exemption. I would talk to their main office. I'm not sure if the supervisor of the branch office could help much. But I would make a lot of noise about Civil Rights violation and violations of their own policy.
post #6 of 22
You will need to give them a written statement of your religious objection. That may be part of how and why they keep you coming back each month. Without that written statement you are just someone lazy about vaccinating and "getting punished" to get you into compliance.
post #7 of 22
We dont' get WIC anymore, but we used to and it was delivered to our house, no vouchers. they came every tuesday and you had to go in once every 6 mos or year to weigh and measure kids and verify income. but we dont' vax and when asked for our info i jsu ttold them we dont/ VT has all 3 exemptions and i've never been asked for any proof of my exemption nor have we been required to visit more often. so as far as i knwo it doesn't matter in thsi state. Also since when is being vaccinated a requirement of recieving a federal program benefits?
post #8 of 22
i'm in indiana and it's never been brought up.
post #9 of 22
Purple Cat has given some excellent advice and I would encourage you to follow through with it. I'm quite sure there are many more people how have exemptions and are also being treated in this unfair manner. Sometimes all it takes is one to change the tide.

Just FWI, I got WIC in my state were I simply told them we are philosophically exempt (we have both religious and philosophical exemptions) and there was never a question after that.
post #10 of 22
If I were you, I would write letters expressing your disdain to the head of local WIC and the state head of community health. I've always had great results with letters professionally citing the violation in question (whatever it is). Lately, I had an issue with DHS, and I wrote letters. As a result, an investigation was done and they found that they were in violation. I received a letter and a retroactive payment. Well worth the effort!
post #11 of 22
We are in VA and they never say anything about vax. We go every 3 mos. and they only check weight/height. Then we see the nutritionist, get our vouchers on the way out, they put them in our folder & put the next appt. on the back.
post #12 of 22
I'm in AZ and vax hasn't come up besides the initial appointment. All I said is "we don't vax" and no more questions asked. They never asked for any exemptions either. We only have to come in every 3 months.
post #13 of 22
What?? We're on WIC in Iowa and we go in every 3 months just like everyone else (health check every year or something like that)...that is insane...

Excellent advice given here, they are violating your rights...
post #14 of 22
They had initially told me that I would have to go in every month, too, when I told them we didn't vaccinate for religious reasons. I immediately said I needed to talk to someone about this because its discrimination based on our religion. She immediately backed down and said she just needed a written statement for her files.
post #15 of 22
I had a question in regards to WIC and vaxes a few months ago, and this thread helped me out big time....


It states:

From the USDA: Immunization records and/or an infant/child’s immunization status are in no way tied to the receipt of WIC benefits.


And this is an email I received last week:

Thank you for your recent e-mail to the website of the Department of Agriculture/Food and Nutrition Service (USDA/FNS), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). In your e-mail you stated your belief that WIC staff around the country are requiring parents to provide their children’s immunization records for WIC certification and identification purposes.

Federal WIC Program regulations require WIC local agencies to check an individual’s identity as part of the certification process. For an infant, acceptable forms of documentation of identity include an immunization record or birth certificate.

In its role as an adjunct to health care, the WIC Program screens immunization records and refers WIC participants for immunizations if needed. Because immunization rates of low-income children lag behind those of more affluent children, a White House Executive Memorandum was issued in December 2000, directing WIC to screen the immunization records of all infants and children under the age of two at WIC certification visits. WIC therefore reminds and encourages parents to bring immunization records to visits. However, as you noted, immunizations records and up-to-date immunization status are not required in order to receive WIC benefits.

Monitoring and evaluation conducted by USDA/FNS shows that WIC Programs are following policy related to immunization screening and referral. If you have identified specific WIC agencies or clinics where you have observed otherwise, please let us know so that we can look further into the matter.

Per your inquiry, to file a formal complaint regarding violations of any laws or regulations regarding USDA programs, you can contact the USDA, Office of Inspector General at http://www.usda.gov/oig/hotline.htm . WIC participants with complaints may also write to the State agency in which they receive WIC services. State contact lists may be found at http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/Contacts/statealpha.HTM.


P. Mitchell


It's time for those who have been harassed to start making complaints to Mr. Mitchell. It's always better to start your complaint off "at the top" . . . and that would be the USDA.
post #16 of 22
This information about my experience probably isn't too helpful - but maybe you could tell your WIC people about it?

I went into WIC for our 6 month appointment, and the really nice lady (there are only two ladies that work there - and they are both quite nice!) asked about starting solids, and when I told her we were still waiting, and wouldn't be using rice cereal, she said she needed to step out of her WIC role for a moment to tell me thats a smart idea and is what she did as well. Then she asked if we were doing vaccinations right away or at all or spreading them out...I told her that we were going to wait until dd is at least two before making any vax decisions. She said that made alot of sense to her, and she felt supportive of that decision.

These ladies are amazing and so supportive! We don't have to visit every month, either. Thats ridiculous!

Good luck.
post #17 of 22
This is really strange to me. The reason why I was going every month was because my son is exclusively breastfed, not because of his vax status. And they know he's un-vaxed.

I told them that I had no plans in giving up breastfeeding, but they told me that was their policy. That some moms change their minds - which is why we were told to go every month.
post #18 of 22
Our office lady made our next appointment in 3 months, but said we could come back sooner if we had any breastfeeding issues. She said since we haven't had any breastfeeding issues that I didn't need to come in monthly.
post #19 of 22
Wow. My WIC appointments rarely take longer than 15 minutes! I also don't vaccinate, and don't have an "official" exemption either. They don't make me come in more due to that. They ask about the vax records and i just say I don't vaccinate for religious reasons, no further questions. I guess I am lucky!
post #20 of 22
I love our WIC office. There's a poster with a baby human nursing off a cow that says "What's wrong with this picture?"
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