Just What *Are* The Penalties For Not Vaccinating

This CNN article points out that Utah and Mississippi - of all places - have the strictest vaccination laws in the country, allowing no exemptions except on a doctor’s excuse.

What the article doesn’t say is what (if any) the actual penalites are for not vaccinating. The best I can figure is that the penalty for not vaccinating your kids in those states is “they won’t be allowed to attend public school,” which is hardly a “penalty” for the non-vaccinating families I know, since their kids will never see the inside of a public school anyway.

But beyond that, are their fines? CPS comes and takes the kids into foster care? Parents are held at gunpoint while the nurse injects the kid?

Lots of laws are unenforced or enforced extremely sporadically due to the political firestorm that would result if they were actually enforced effectively. Since most people are law abiding, I think the idea is just to say it’s “mandatory” and hope people comply. there’s no Plan B if they don’t.

As far as Utah goes, there actually is no individual vaccination requirement as far as I can tell. Just a mandate on schools to vaccinate all students, and the schools face penalties for failure to comply.


So yeah, if your kid doesn’t go to public school, there’s no penalty for not vaccinating. You know, other than increased risk of a variety of diseases.

just public school attendance is all i’ve ever seen.

Pretty much not attending public school. How much punishment that is depends on how much red tape the government requires of parents who put their kids in alternate schools. Most accredited private schools also require vaccines (exception: many Montessori schools). If your child is in an accredited school, you just have to tell the school district that. If your child is in a non-accredited school, usually you must register them as home-schooled, or “privately tutored,” and submit the curriculum, which is the same for a home-schooled child. States vary greatly on how much follow-up they do on home-schooled children. Some inspect the environment and critique the curriculum, asking for revisions if it isn’t adequate, and ask that the children periodically submit to standardized testing to ensure they are making progress. Others are satisfied just to have the info on file, and never look at it.

Another consequence is that they will get dropped by some doctors. They are not allowed to attend some activities, like overnight camps for scouts, but I have heard of parents simply lying and filling in dates for vaccination the child didn’t get, and no one checks. This ought to be illegal, and come with a fine, IMO.

The biggest consequence is getting diseases, but anti-vax parents don’t care about that-- in fact, when their child doesn’t die or have serious residua, they feel vindicated (nevermind the two weeks of suffering they put the kid through, and the fact that they may have exposed others, and the fact that they got lucky-- this time).

I’m waiting for these children of anti-vaxxers to reach their child-bearing years without rubella vaccines, and start having seriously damaged babies. You know it’s gonna happen.

In Mississippi, all public and private school students are required to have the full schedule of vaccines by kindergarten. The only exceptions are for medical reasons; no religious or moral exceptions are allowed. If you don’t vaccinate, your only choice is home-schooling.

They are a good model for the nation, IMO.

The penalty for not vaccinating could be up to and including death. By some stupid preventable disease that was eradicated in your grandparents time, a disease that people knew enough to fear and a preventative vaccination that was developed by people who were held up as heros.

In Missouri, vaccination is required to enroll in public school, but there is an exception for medical or religious objections. I don’t know if the Missouri law applies to private schools. My kids’ day care (Montessori) does require them, but I don’t know if that’s just their policy or a legal requirement.

Huh. Upon further reading, I learn that the Missouri law does apply to private schools. So, you can’t enroll anywhere in the state without full vaccination, a medical exemption, or a religious exemption. At a glance, it appears that all you need to do to get the religious exemption is to inform the school admin in writing that you have a religious objection.

Penalties include dangerous levels of smug inhalation.

Maps of state rates, laws etc. Note that even California requires a medical exemption, but you can probably find a doctor who is willing.

I hadn’t even thought of that - I guess I’ve been operating on the assumption that we’re going to have a massive measles outbreak before then and thousands of children will die and parents will smarten the fuck up and get their kids vaccinated.

You’re probably right, though - barring a massive pandemic, these kids are going to reach childbearing age, and we’re going to see an increase in Congenital Rubella Syndrome as rubella is brought back into the US from abroad.

And Rubella is insidious. Adults who have it often show very little in symptoms, and it is so transient it is never diagnosed-- same for children older than a year or so. Pregnant women get it, and in many cases don’t even know they had it until they have a child who is blind or deaf. Or blind and deaf.

Australia steps up.

Support for government push to withdraw welfare payments from anti vaccination parents


(just not even remotely in the way they thought…)

I wonder how long it will be until some insurance company refuses to pay when the un-vaccinated kid comes down with one of these preventable diseases?

An insurance company can’t arbitrarily decide not to cover something unless it’s written into the policy that way.

A policy written that way probably wouldn’t meet the minimum Obamacare requirements.

  • Is it OK to say Thanks Obama?*

I would assume most policies have a clause of “failed to take reasonable / minimum precautions”.

The last time I neglected to get the influenza vaccine the penalty was influenza.

I know that my grandfather and his brothers (all born around 1900) died from heart problems in their 50’s and 60’s - which is early considering my grandmother lasted to 95, my dad and his siblings are pushing 90 and still going strong… The heart problems were a result of scarlet fever in childhood. So there are multiple and not obvious consequences of poor vaccinations beyond the initial sickness.

Besides, measles is a lot more dangerous if it hits babies and toddlers, which is why the need to have school-age children vaccinated, so they don’t bring it home to baby brother or sister.

Once more non-vaccinating parents realize that not only will their children not be allowed in public schools, but that the doors of private schools and daycare establishments will increasingly be closed to them and that home schooling will start to be the only viable option, then we may see a change of heart.

It takes a lot of time and energy to adequately home-school children, and I doubt many of these parents will be willing to undertake such a long-term commitment.

*let us not forget the ultimate penalty of not getting one’s children vaccinated - being subjected to snarky remarks in Internet forums. :eek:

Is there a vaccine for scarlet fever? :dubious: