Book Supports Parents Who Want to Opt Out of Vaccinations As New Controversies Rage Over Mandatory Immunizations

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August is National Vaccine Awareness Month. While government agencies and health officials take this opportunity to urge parents to be sure their children receive all the required early childhood immunizations, a growing group of opponents now question the safety of vaccines and challenge their mandatory status. Many parents are choosing to opt out or finding additional means for resisting the practice of vaccinating their children.

August is National Vaccine Awareness Month. While government agencies and health officials take this opportunity to urge parents to be sure their children receive all the required early childhood immunizations, a growing group of opponents now question the safety of vaccines and challenge their mandatory status. Many parents are choosing to opt out or finding additional means for resisting the practice of vaccinating their children.

While opt-out options may not always be available, exemptions for immunizations do exist. In Your Personal Guide to Immunization Exemptions (paperback, 40 pages, $10.95), by Grace Girdwain, published by Dorrance Publishing, Pittsburgh, the author provides concrete advice and options for the growing number of parents who oppose having their children vaccinated for religious, medical, philosophical, or personal reasons. Girdwain explains an individual's health rights and the importance of freedom of choice, exercising informed consent as it relates to these rights. She provides sample exemption forms, listing the most commonly asked questions and their answers.

Recent headlines have fueled the debate and caused even the most traditionally compliant parents to wonder about how well the safety of vaccines is being monitored. About one month after having been vaccinated with Gardasil, the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine produced by pharmaceutical giant Merck, a 13-year-old California girl noticed the first symptoms of muscle weakness that led to her eventual paralysis.

The public watchdog group, Judicial Watch, has been keeping an eye on the adverse effects, pertaining to the drug, reported to the Food and Drug Administration. They have stated there have been 10 deaths since September 2007 and 140 reports of serious health effects.

More and more vaccines are added to the list parents must consider. In February of 2007 Governor Rick Perry of Texas issued an order making HPV vaccination of preteen girls in his state mandatory. Now 21 states and the District of Columbia are considering similar laws. And the CDC has issued a Universal Recommendation that the vaccine be given to all 11-12 year-old girls in the United States.

In Your Personal Guide to Immunization Exemptions, author Girdwain advises parents about communicating with school officials and discusses ever-changing state laws. Recent developments illustrate just how difficult and painful challenging government officials can be.

Last November Maryland's State's Attorney General issued a statement that public health officials would use whatever means necessary, including threats of jail to parents, in order to get young children vaccinated against childhood and other diseases. According to the National Vaccine Information Center, children in Maryland who have not been vaccinated are expelled from school, and parents, facing truancy laws, can then be forced to have their children comply with vaccination policies or face fines and jail time. Currently children in most states are required to have 38 immunization shots by the time they enter public school. Worries about increases in the rates of autism that some think could be linked to immunizations and stated apprehensions about the rapidly increasing numbers of immunizations required continue to appear in articles, interviews, and blogs, making it difficult for parents to decide what to do.

Girdwain's book, which answers the toughest questions faced by parents who desire to meet proper compliance with the least amount of resistance, will discover a great deal of support and invaluable information in this volume.

For more information, please contact the book's publisher, Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc. at 800-788-7654.

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Kathleen Haak
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