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-   -   Starting MA Pre-School... need help with Vaccine waiver/exemption (http://www.mothering.com/forum/83-connecticut-massachusetts-rhode-island/944019-starting-ma-pre-school-need-help-vaccine-waiver-exemption.html)

carolynm 08-05-2008 01:52 AM

I am hoping someone can help me with this... My son is starting Pre-school in Sept. and I got the enrollment pack today. There is a n "Immunization and Health" page that's included.
My son only got the first 2 sets of shots, then nothing since. iIwas planning on having to claim the religious expemption because the medical wont fit and its my understanding these are the only 2 options here in Mass.
My question is: what do I do now? Write a letter to the school and include it with his physical- stating that he's not immunized due to my beliefs? Write a letter somewhere else (the state??)and request a waiver? Is there a form that needs to be filled out? I cant seem to find any information on what to do... everything is geared toward the assumption that all children are vaccinated.
I'm assuming he's not the first child at this school who's not been vaxed (Gorse at MHC in S Hadley) but I am hesitant to ask for help from them since it doesnt even seem to be an option on the paperwork I got.
If you've been through this step in Mass, I'd appreciate a response and some guidance.
thanks!!

xmasbaby7 08-05-2008 07:51 AM

You just submit the religious waiver with the application. This is the MA state law language detailing the exemption.

Cut and paste this letter on a new page:

To whom this may concern,

We, your names, are exempting our child, name, from all vaccinations because it conflicts with our sincerely held religious belief.

IMMUNIZATION REQUIREMENTS FOR GROUP DAY CARE AND
SCHOOL AGE CHILD CARE PROGRAMS
Regulations Of The Department of Early Education and Care
102 CMR 7.00: Standards For The Licensure Or Approval Of Group Day Care And School Age Child Care Programs (7/10/97)
Section 102 CMR 7.09(5)(a) Required Medical Examinations in Group Child Care Programs
“The licensee shall require, at admission, a physician’s certificate that each child has been successfully immunized in accordance with the current Department of Public Health’s recommended schedules against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), poliomyelitis, measles and such other communicable diseases as may be specified from time to time by the Office. No child shall be required, under 102 CMR 7.00 to have any such immunization if his parent(s) objects thereto, in writing, on the grounds that it conflicts with their religious beliefs or if the child’s physician submits documentation that such a procedure is contraindicated.”


Sincerely,

veganf 08-05-2008 10:11 AM

Just submit a religious waiver. That's what we've done even though we're not religious.

mightymoo 08-06-2008 04:46 PM

Just did this today, here is the letter I've used for the last 3 years at dd's preschool and DS's daycare:

My Name
My Address
August 1st, 2008

School's Name
School's Address

To Whom It May Concern:

My child, [Child's Name], will be attending [School Name ]in the [Program Name] for the 2008-2009 school year. I am providing you with this statement in order to satisfy state immunization requirements:

In accordance with Department of Education and Early Childcare Regulation 102 CMR 7.00, the administration of immunizations conflicts with my sincerely held religious belief.

Sincerely,
[My Signature]
[My name printed]


IMMUNIZATION REQUIREMENTS FOR GROUP DAY CARE AND
SCHOOL AGE CHILD CARE PROGRAMS
Regulations Of The Department of Early Education and Care
102 CMR 7.00: Standards For The Licensure Or Approval Of Group Day Care And School Age Child Care Programs (7/10/97)
Section 102 CMR 7.09(5)(a) Required Medical Examinations in Group Child Care Programs
“The licensee shall require, at admission, a physician’s certificate that each child has been successfully immunized in accordance with the current Department of Public Health’s recommended schedules against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), poliomyelitis, measles and such other communicable diseases as may be specified from time to time by the Office. No child shall be required, under 102 CMR 7.00 to have any such immunization if his parent(s) objects thereto, in writing, on the grounds that it conflicts with their religious beliefs or if the child’s physician submits documentation that such a procedure is contraindicated.”

Kerlowyn 08-06-2008 07:40 PM

:

That is exactly the letter I use. Preschool last year, kindy and high school this year....no problems

mightymoo 08-06-2008 07:49 PM

I got it from someone here at some point.

What I'm interested to see is how the public school will receive it, but I don't have to cross the bridge until next year.

veganf 08-06-2008 07:57 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mightymoo View Post
What I'm interested to see is how the public school will receive it, but I don't have to cross the bridge until next year.
I was expecting at least some comment, or even a pause or a blink, but NOTHING. Seemed like they couldn't have cared less here...so far so good.

ejg123 08-09-2008 06:45 PM

Typically you will have no problems or resistance, but if there is any, realize that you do not have to further explain your beliefs and that schools cannot turn you down or ask for further documentation or detail - it is illegal. I have heard of parents being intimidated, feeling pressure to get a lawyer, or feeling as if the burden is on them, when it is not. If a school wants to take legal action, they can go to that hassle (and, in the end, find that it doesn't work). It shouldn't cause you heartache or hassle. My experience in MA is that it is relatively easy, however.

Kerlowyn 08-09-2008 09:17 PM

The only thing that was mentioned to me was about my son entering K this fall. When the Kindy open house happened, all the parents met separately with the school nurse.
She said to be if there was an 'outbreak' of something, I would be notified.

gurumama 08-10-2008 02:00 PM

I've used that same letter at two different schools in MA and had zero problems.

avivaelona 08-10-2008 02:45 PM

What do you do if you've done most Vax's but not all? Is there a list somewhere of what is actually required and what is just suggested?

We've done delayed vaccinating and its resulted in DS entering preschool in the fall having gotten everything but two boosters that I'm not going to give him because he is over the age where the diseases are a risk, and the chicken pox vaccine which I understood wasn't required til age 5. However, the immunization form the doctor sent back was checked "not complete due to parent choice" I don't know if I will need to do an exemption or not?

avivaelona 08-13-2008 10:59 AM

no one knows?

mumm 08-13-2008 12:52 PM

Our public school blinked. And called. And said it is either all or nothing. My kids are partially vaxed and they've only picked up on my daughter (going into K) but not my son who has been as the school for 2 years.

I believe I may give in. I'm not going to pull her out of school but will put a plan into place to get her up-to-date over the next year and see if they will go for it. In the meantime I amsticking my head in the sand and ignoring it.

veganf 08-13-2008 08:11 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mumm View Post
Our public school blinked. And called. And said it is either all or nothing. My kids are partially vaxed and they've only picked up on my daughter (going into K) but not my son who has been as the school for 2 years.

I believe I may give in. I'm not going to pull her out of school but will put a plan into place to get her up-to-date over the next year and see if they will go for it. In the meantime I amsticking my head in the sand and ignoring it.
But what if you have since "found" religion? Couldn't you just say that? Or that you have changed religions?

Kerlowyn 08-14-2008 08:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by avivaelona View Post
no one knows?
In MA, it's all or nothing. My kids were selective/delayed, but after a reaction when my DD was 18 months old, they are now done and have not gotten any since. So, even if they have some, you need to go full on religious exemption.

My DS1, age 15 is actually 'up to date'. However, when he goes to his new charter school this month, I will submit an exemption form. I don't want him to have to have any vaxes that might get added to "the list' while he is still in school.

mumm 08-14-2008 09:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by veganf View Post
But what if you have since "found" religion? Couldn't you just say that? Or that you have changed religions?
The problem is she's had some vaxs as recently as this year and skipped some from as early on as 5 years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerlowyn View Post
In MA, it's all or nothing. My kids were selective/delayed, but after a reaction when my DD was 18 months old, they are now done and have not gotten any since. So, even if they have some, you need to go full on religious exemption.

My DS1, age 15 is actually 'up to date'. However, when he goes to his new charter school this month, I will submit an exemption form. I don't want him to have to have any vaxes that might get added to "the list' while he is still in school.
I should have thought of just leaving out the entire immunization form and just submitted the exemption letter. duh. I never thought of that, being the honest person I am and all.

Kerrie 08-14-2008 03:09 PM

Hello all, I'm jumping in. I need to submit my kid's info (just recently decided to send them to school we homeschooled last year). Here are my questions - DD1 (going into 2nd grade) is fully vaxed and DS was 'up to date' until he turned 5 - he didn't get his 'kindergarden' vax or cp vax. I'm fine with submitting that neither of them are vaxed at all but on DS' form the dr checked off that immunizations are up to date and if I could find DD1's I'm sure it would say the same thing. Now what - 'the dr must have forgotten that we don't vax?'

Kerlowyn 08-14-2008 07:25 PM

On DS2's check up form for kindergarten, our doctor checked off 'up to date' also. In his words "well, for your family, you are up to date" (let me know if you want his name )

He knows we are a former selective/delay, now a no vax family.

I just sent in the exemption letter with the check up form, and I did not have a problem.

Kerrie 08-14-2008 11:39 PM

So is your DS vaxed at all? Did you include something about since xx date we no longer vax?

Kerlowyn 08-15-2008 08:51 AM

DS2 has some vaxes, but I did not include that info. However, the exemption letter over rides everything. Once they see that, they can not ask you anything. The school nurse said she must assume he has nothing, when she saw the letter.

Like a poster above mentioned, you can become your religion anytime.

If an outbreak of something happens at school, I will need to get titers run to show them he has immunity. That will be OK by me, he has had a bit of everything. The nurse was fine with the exemption letter. My feeling was that as long as the child has had a check up, and a doctor knows he is not vaxed, the school nurse was fine. Like the doctor makes it OK

With DS1, even though he is up to date at age 15 (i think he is), I will send the letter and they will think he has nothing. I'll only use the vax records if needed, to show immunity if there is an outbreak; and then I will just have the doctor write a letter about that specific disease. Something like "Student was vaxed for XXX on 8/8/94" and nothing more.

avivaelona 08-15-2008 11:17 AM

Quote:
In MA, it's all or nothing.
Do you know what "all" consists of though? Is there a list somewhere? Because its possible he actually has all that is required for his age.

I'm angry about how difficult its made to vax on a different schedule, there is this big public health push to vaccinate, but I feel pushed to not vaccinate at all because I can't do it on a schedule that seems reasonable because if I do I have to write a note that's a lie to say I don't believe in vaccinating at all? Based on a religion that I don't have? That's insane.

mumm 08-15-2008 11:29 AM

one dose of varicella vaccine
3 doses hep b
5 doses dtap/dtp
4 doses polio
2 doses mmr
lead and vision screen
phsycial exam

That is the Mass DPH requirement.

mumm 08-15-2008 11:30 AM

Actually a Physical Exam. Oops

Kerrie 08-15-2008 02:25 PM

So I just dropped off the info and just omitted thier vax info and included the letter. I gave it to the principal - he looked at it and didn't say a word.

avivaelona 08-16-2008 12:06 AM

Thanks Mumm, I did finally managed to find it...they didn't make it easy!

I think that is the list for kindergarten, for preschool it said

3 of HepB
4 of DTP or DTaP
3 of Polio
at least 1 of HiB
1 MMR

and 1 of varicella,


So he's ok except for the varicella which means that because we are still trying to decide about the safety and efficacy and necessity of this rather new vaccine, we are going to have to do a religious exemption, which is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. If I'm asked, do I say my sincere religious beliefs are that I actually believe in good science? At this point belief in well researched and founded science probably is akin to a religious belief. Grrrrr.

Maybe I need to start a religion which only has a sincerely held opinion about varicella.

Does his great noodly appendage have an opinion on pox?

Kerlowyn 08-16-2008 08:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by avivaelona View Post
Maybe I need to start a religion which only has a sincerely held opinion about varicella.

Does his great noodly appendage have an opinion on pox?
:

Pastafarians Unite!

camotyka 08-21-2008 12:39 AM

I am so confused .

So because my DS has been vaccinated in the past I'm unable to file an exemption because MA is all or nothing? If I send the exemption letter into the school won't the letter conflict with the physical form that get filled out by the pediatricians office? UGH! I'm really lost.

Kerlowyn 08-21-2008 09:10 AM

You can file an exemption letter anytime you want.

If you no longer want to vax, you need to send in a religious exemption letter. You do not submit the vax records your doc has on file, and the school can not ask for them. There was a form from the school that the doc filled out when DS2 had his physical. If you have that form, the doc can fill it out and leave the vax questions blank. Mine just ended up checking the box 'up to date' anyhow.

If your doc checks off the box 'not up to date', then the exemption letter explains why, end of story.

You do not need to tell the school your child has been vaxed for anything. As far as what they need to know, the letter explains it all, that you don't vax.

avivaelona 08-21-2008 11:12 AM

Camotyka we got a new medical form from the school and asked the docs office to fill it out with no vaccination info. We haven't gotten it back yet but I assume its ok because the secretary had no problem when I asked them to fill it out that way.

Its very frustrating if you selectively or delayed vax because you do have to essentially say that you don't, I think its really poor public policy.

i*wish 08-28-2008 12:38 PM

:
Jumping in late here but I'm sending my info in today... one day early
Anyhow, I had my doctor fill out the 'physical exam' part of the form but leave the vax info section blank (we had done a couple of vaxes early on). I will submit that with the letter. Could you have your doctor re-do the form that way? I think it's kinda funny because by not filling that in the doctor is kinda 'lying' right? but she did it so i'll shut up now....


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