States which may grant a "personal beliefs" exemption
Call it what you might, a number of states offer parent's actual access
to informed choice through exemptions for personal beliefs of one
form or another - Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota,
New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington,
and Wisconsin. Information regarding these states is published at http://www.access1.net/via/STATES/allstates.htm
and the National
Vaccine Information Center site; however, before making any important decisions that might affect the
welfare of your family, please verify any information found here with the
state authorities. You may be able to do this online if the state has a
comprehensive government website. Search at
links to the various states.
The National Vaccine Information Center site has an
excellent graphic which shows at a glance what exemptions
each state allows.
Additionally, if you become aware of any inaccuracies found here, or any
additions that should be made, please email them to nyvicteam.
Note: Most states offer medical exemptions (requires MD to certify) and religious exemptions. The religious exemptions vary, but a federal judge found that when NY state limited the exemption solely to "bona fide members of a recognized religious organization" - this was unconstitutional. NY's law was subsequently changed to read, "This section shall not apply to children whose parent, parents, or guardian hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs which are contrary to the practices herein required..." However, the decision also clearly supports the idea that the state does have the right to determine the actual "sincerity" of the beliefs claimed (see
Parents' and Patients' Rights Groups
in various states