Christie’s vaccine statements aside, N.J. already allows parents to refuse on religious grounds

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Jayden Mercado, 4, sits in his mother Yariluz Ocasio's lap while he gets an influenza vaccine at Boston Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts in this file photo taken January 10, 2013. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Brian Snyder/Files
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-VACCINES-NJ, originally transmitted on February 3, 2015.

Jayden Mercado, 4, sits in his mother Yariluz Ocasio's lap while he gets an influenza vaccine at Boston Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts in this file photo taken January 10, 2013. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Brian Snyder/Files *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-VACCINES-NJ, originally transmitted on February 3, 2015.

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TRENTON, N.J. (RNS) In the 2013-14 school year, nearly 9,000 New Jersey children used a religious exemption to decline immunizations that under state law children must receive in order to attend school.

  • Larry

    So Christie and the NJ Republicans don’t want to upset the small, but vocal downstate religious fanatic community which provides a key part of their voter base.

    I am sorry, but religious freedom does not entitle one to create a public health hazard or endanger one’s children. The only reason there are such exemptions is pure politicking by people with more religious fervor than basic common sense.

  • Garson Abuita

    What do you mean by downstate? Of the four counties mentioned with the highest number of exemptions sought, three are in the northern part of the state and one is Central Jersey.

  • Larry

    My bad. Is there a term for the more “rustic” areas of NJ?

  • Garson Abuita

    The truth is a lot of Jersey is kind of rustic, especially when you get far north and west of the NYC suburbs, and south of the Atlantic City Expressway. But I think Christie’s statements here are a hedge against 2016 accusations that he is pro-“big government.”

  • Anti-Vaxxers are superstitious nuts.

    “The more False we destroy the more room we make for the True” – Robert Ingersoll

    Unfortunately, the real crisis is the breathtaking lack of science education.

    Americans are idiots when it comes to science.
    And they elect people who want to celebrate their ignorance as if it is a virtue.

    I blame religion for this ignorance because that is the evidence.
    Wherever religion is strong, Science is crushed and silenced.

    Religion poisons everything decent and good.

  • Larry

    Ugh. “Big government” is increasingly becoming a watchword for politically powerful, but dumb as a bag of hammers.

    The last thing the GOP needs is more association as the anti-science party.

  • Jack

    Larry, I believe northwestern New Jersey is relatively rustic, too.

  • Jack

    Max, when it comes to the anti-vaccination people, some of them know quite a lot about science, way more than the average American. Their problem is not lack of knowledge of how science works, but deep paranoid mistrust about elites in our country.

    The one thing they have not considered, however, is that even if they’re right in everything they say, the case for vaccinations is still — from a risk-management perspective — stronger than the case for not vaccinating. Even if they’re right in all they allege about vaccinations, a society-wide failure to vaccinate will absolutely lead to the full return of terrible diseases from the past.

  • Michael Glass

    Has someone had the common sense to get the major religious leaders together to make a united stand in support of vaccinations? This “religious exemption” is a great steaming pile of manure.

    I cannot imagine that any religious leader of note in the whole of the United States would put their name to an anti-vaccination message. If I am wrong, and there are religious leaders who are so bone-headed and foolish, then please name them and shame them!

  • Larry

    I always figured pretty much everywhere in the state beyond 20 miles of the Jersey Turnpike or Garden State Parkway. 🙂

  • Larry

    That is a load of hooey. What few anti-vaxxers know a thing about science and medicine, doesn’t give them remotely enough knowledge to make an informed decision. The closest you get is an idiot like Ron Paul who completely forgoes whatever knowledge he had in medicine to make stupid reactionary statements about the state “not owning children”. You have people who are ignorant, paranoid and irrational. The problem is not a lack of information, its a lack of willingness to look at it or trust it.

    Enough of this “Anti-big government” libertarian paranoid bullcrap. This is not an issue of personal choice, its about public health. There should be no exemptions for vaccination barring medical ones.
    What makes it worse is the arguments used are the same ones that were used against mandatory vaccination for small pox and polio. They were wrong back then, they continue to be wrong.

  • Jack

    Larry, if you misdiagnose the source of the problem, you won’t come up with a sensible, as opposed to hot-headed, solution.

    The problem isn’t lack of knowledge per se….it’s lack of trust. These people can often refute themselves with their current level of knowledge.

    And the first step is to cut the nonsensical talk about jailing anti-vaccinators. All that does is promote the paranoia about pro-vaccinators being a bunch of totalitarian thugs.

    Get the clown cars of Ezekiel Emanuel radical types away from the cameras and microphones and bring in level-headed trustworthy people to make the case for vaccinations.

  • Larry

    Do you know what worked in the past when it came to the anti-vaxxers?

    Not taking their concerns seriously. Mandatory vaccination policies, and civil penalties for failing to vaccinate and removal of non-medical opt outs for it. There is nothing hotheaded about it.

    Just because one has an opinion, it doesn’t mean it is relevant to the state of public health or has to be taken seriously in such contexts.

    “And the first step is to cut the nonsensical talk about jailing anti-vaccinators.”

    Did I mention jailing them? Your position is a strawman.

    Most states bar children from public schools unless they have been vaccinated. I would suggest criminal penalties on par with those associated with withholding medical care to one’s children. Maybe even consider it a form of recognized abuse.

    “bring in level-headed trustworthy people to make the case for vaccinations.”

    Doctor Ben Carson, arch-conservative was not good enough for you?

    Give me a break.

  • Jack

    Ben Carson is a good beginning, for a number of reasons. What we want are people front and center who support vaccinations but cannot be accused of being statists or other labels used by people who are distrustful of authority.

  • Larry

    People who use the term “statists” outside of college political science classes are generally morons. The term is used willy-nilly by those who give a knee jerk objection to anything done by the government.

    Opposing vaccination on the basis of “statism” does not deserve to be treated with polite respect. Such people need to be ridiculed mercilessly, marginalized and ignored to the point where it becomes a public embarrassment for politicians to appeal to this crowd.

    There is no such thing as a Libertarian health initiative. Evidently it is your choice and right to die by lack of availability of proper medical treatment. Nobody handles the sanitation in Galt’s Gulch.

    Vaccination programs only truly work if done on a wide sweeping scale. That is how diseases get eradicated. The idea of even giving a choice based on personal or religious belief is insanely dangerous to the public

  • Jack

    We just disagree on tactics. I may one day agree with you, but not now and not yet. I think we can turn this problem around through better messaging and more social pressure based on it.

  • Jeff

    I’m not for vaccines for myself our my child. I spent the last year looking up references, talking to doctors on both sides, going thru countless documented cases of vaccine injuries. Before having a child I could care less about the subject. It’s a 21.5 billion dollar a year business. There is a secret court awarding vaccine injured children money from our tax dollars. Look at a U.S. news report posted 26 Jan of this year. two shots makes a vaccinated person 99% protected LOL. yet they reported 39 cases of the measles 32 un vaccinated 7 were how did the 7 catch the measles if they were vaccinated and protected 99 % was it that 1%? Lmao. A whopping 91% of physicians in this country alone said they will not vaccinate themselves or their children. I honestly think it should be your choice for your children not the govt. All vaccines were introduced at the time when the disease itself was almost gone as hygiene and nutrition became better.

  • Allen

    I dont need to know the science. I am skeptical to vaccinate my children. Law protects big pharma. Just look it up yourself. If there was ever a link from vaccines to any kind of disease and scientifically proven, big pharma cannot be sued and our 100% protected. Makes you think…….