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Vaccinations 'protect society as a whole'


Times West-Virginian
By Colleen S.Good

FAIRMONT — A cold, wet alcohol swab, a short prick from the needle, a cotton ball, and a bandage, and it’s done. Maybe afterward, they’ll even give you a sticker.

Just a few minutes is all it takes to get kids vaccinated and ready for school. Keeping kids on-track with their vaccinations is important for their health and the community’s. And it’s the law.

West Virginia is one of two states in the country that only allows medical opt-outs from required school vaccinations. 48 states also allow exemptions based on religious or philosophical grounds.

Medical exemptions are granted for children based on their individual health concerns and can be vaccine specific, where a child may be exempt from receiving one vaccine, but not others, depending on the nature of the medical exemption.

Perhaps because West Virginia and Mississippi only allow medical exemptions, both states lead the nation in childhood immunization rates. In West Virginia, 96.3 percent of kindergartners receive their MMR vaccine, well above the national average of 94.5 percent.

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