Mandatory school vaccination policies with exclusion of unvaccinated students can be a powerful tool in ensuring high vaccination rates . Some parents may object to mandatory vaccination policies, claiming exemptions based on medical, religious, or philosophical reasons. Individual schools, school systems, or local or regional governments have different policies with respect to whether, and what kind of exemptions may be allowed. In the setting of the current pandemic, questions regarding the acceptability of exemptions have resurfaced, as schools and local governments struggle with how to safely return children to school. Anticipating that school attendance will be facilitated by the development of a vaccine, school systems will face decisions about whether to mandate vaccination and whether to permit exemptions. The American Academy of Pediatrics promulgates policy favoring the elimination of non-medical exemptions generally in schools. This discussion considers whether schools should eliminate non-medical exemptions to vaccination as proposed in the AAP policy, ultimately concluding that broad elimination of exemptions is not justified and advocating a more nuanced approach that encourages school attendance while promoting vaccination and broader public health goals.
About The Expert
Erin Talati Paquette