Vac­cine med­i­cal ex­emp­tions

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “De­spite tough vac­cine rules, crack­down lags,” Nov. 6

The Times re­ports on con­cerns over doc­tor dis­cre­tion re­gard­ing vac­cine med­i­cal ex­emp­tions.

It’s worth not­ing a re­cent study showed Cal­i­for­nia coun­ties with high per­sonal ex­emp­tions be­fore SB 277, the state law grant­ing ex­emp­tions only to peo­ple who doc­tors cer­tify need them for med­i­cal rea­sons, have the high­est med­i­cal ex­emp­tion lev­els now.

While I be­lieve doc­tors should re­ceive guide­lines for ex­emp­tions from med­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions and not from law­mak­ers, I also be­lieve the pub­lic has the right to know which doc­tors may be abus­ing this dis­cre­tion.

Schools are re­quired to re­lease vac­ci­na­tion rates; per­haps doc­tors should be re­quired to re­lease their prac­tice’s vac­ci­na­tion rates as well. Par­ents have the right to know if their doc­tor’s of­fice poses a high risk, par­tic­u­larly for vul­ner­a­ble in­fants, and choose an­other doc­tor with bet­ter vac­ci­na­tion rates.

Pub­lic choice can be the dis­ci­plin­ing fac­tor if the state med­i­cal board is un­able to mit­i­gate this risk. Elena Gustafson


As one who had to serve in the Army 50 years ago, I’ve long re­sented those who fraud­u­lently ducked mil­i­tary con­scrip­tion.

Some late 1960s con­tem­po­raries of mine who were af­fil­i­ated with a cer­tain re­li­gious faith all man­aged to score the draft’s “4-F” med­i­cal ex­emp­tion from doc­tors who were ad­her­ents of that same faith. Whether those ex­emp­tions were ob­tained fraud­u­lently, I can’t say for sure. But none of my 4-F col­leagues seemed to have any prob­lem par­tic­i­pat­ing in col­lege ath­letic pro­grams.

So I’m not sur­prised that ar­dent anti-vac­ci­na­tion par­ents can find a physi­cian who shares their per­sonal be­liefs to con­trive a med­i­cal ex­emp­tion for their kids. While I’m sure the vast ma­jor­ity of doc­tors would never con­sider is­su­ing a fraud­u­lent vac­ci­na­tion ex­emp­tion, I hope state in­ves­ti­ga­tors catch those few who do.

Beyond giv­ing the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion a bad name, these scofflaws en­dan­ger the health of our chil­dren. Den­nis Al­ston

At­wa­ter, Calif.

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