Sunday, November 04, 2007

Vaccinations Among Homeschooled Children

The authors of an article published in The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics advocates that state governments require vaccinations for home schooled children:
With the spectacular growth in the number of homeschooled students, it is becoming more difficult to reach these youth to ensure that they are immunized at all. These children are frequently unvaccinated, leaving them open to infection with diseases that are all but stamped out in the United States with immunization requirements. States should encourage parents to get their homeschooled students vaccinated through enacting the same laws as those used for public school students. This could be done by enforcing current laws through neglect petitions or by requiring that children be immunized before participating in school sponsored programs. As most states require some filing to allow parents to homeschool their children, it would be easy to enact laws requiring that homeschooled children be immunized or exempted before completing registration.
Abstract (subscription required to view full article).

This line of thinking - or rather, illogic - is similar to that of the recent push for a mandated HPV vaccine for school children. The state has an interest in seeing that public school students are vaccinated because in the schools, large numbers of children are congregated in conditions which make it easy for diseases to spread quickly. There is a logical nexus between the state's action (requiring vaccinations) and the context of the requirement (enrolling in school). HPV, however, is not spread by casual contact, so there is no reason to require it in order to enroll a child in school. Likewise, homeschooled children are not more likely to spread diseases while "in school" than anyone else is at any other time. If the government has the authority to require homeschooled children to be vaccinated, does it not then have the authority to require anyone and everyone to be vaccinated?

HT: Saying No To Vaccines

And for a related article, Parents Use Religion to Avoid Vaccines.

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