Homeschooler's Vax Status

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2009
Homeschooler's Vax Status
Fri, 02-26-2010 - 11:35pm
Lack of Immunization Data for Home-Schooled Children

Marilyn W. Edmunds, PhD, CRNP

The Immunization Status of Home-Schooled Children in America

Choi BK, Manning ML
J Pediatr Health Care. 2010;24:42-47

Article Summary

The immunization of children against a vast number of life-threatening infectious agents is one of the greatest public health interventions of the 20th century. In America, the morbidity and mortality associated with many common childhood infectious diseases have all but vanished over the last 4 decades. Although not perfect, requirements by states for school entry vaccination play a significant role in achieving the high immunization rates among children and adolescents and are responsible for the decline in infectious diseases.

Schools have efficient procedures to review records and follow up the immunization status of students. This ensures that immunization rates are high except among children in states that allow exemptions to immunizations because of religious or philosophical beliefs of parents. Many of these parents are too young to remember children dying or being permanently harmed by common childhood diseases. Thus, these parents often focus on their fear of the adverse effects of immunization and refuse to allow their children to be immunized -- placing them at greater risk than if they received the immunizations. The lack of immunization in some children not only increases the risk for disease in these children but also in all other children in the community.

In view of the success of the school-entry immunization requirements, it is difficult to explain why no similar regulation is in place to monitor the immunization status of the ever-growing home-schooled population.

To document the lack of standardization in what information is collected about home-schooled children and whether they are properly immunized, the authors explored the varying state regulations on childhood immunization. Specifics are provided about what some states do and do not require. What emerges is that no one really knows whether the nearly 2 million home-schooled children are adequately immunized.

Every year more families participate in home schooling. Pediatric and family nurse practitioners in the primary care setting will need to play an aggressive role in trying to educate parents and protect the health of these children, as well as the public's health.


It boggles the mind to read that for so many home-schooled children, immunization may not be required or there is no follow-up to determine whether required immunization is completed. A brief survey of Internet resources suggests that more and more groups are concerned about this issue, but to date, I could find no national policy to address this problem that will protect general public health. The most recent Healthy People report indicates that increasing childhood immunizations is a priority, so the loophole that allows 2 million home-schooled children to escape immunization seems unacceptable.

This failure to have adequate national policy to protect children through immunization does not sound like the type of regulation that would be difficult to pass. Immunizing children should not be a partisan issue. This is a problem that has a clear-cut solution -- and one that we know would make a difference. This is a problem that many provider groups, especially nurse practitioners, should support and push on to the national policy agenda.



iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2009
Fri, 02-26-2010 - 11:43pm

Could the real concern be this something a bit different?

What if someone does a study on these millions of unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated children and they turn out to be healthier?

Of course there could be a number of causes besides the vaccines:

1) School destroys children's health

2) Weird homeschooling practices somehow protects children's health

3) People who homeschool do other weird stuff--have babies at home, or eat organic or grow their own veggies which result in healthier children but have nothing to do with vaccines

or all of the above

anyway, people who evade normal just screw up the statistics and need to be herded back into the pen.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2009
Fri, 02-26-2010 - 11:50pm



iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2008
Mon, 03-01-2010 - 2:29pm

We'll ignore the fact that homeschoolers on average perform higher than their peer in public education for a moment.

The writer contradicts herself in the article:

"This ensures that immunization rates are high except among children in states that allow exemptions to immunizations because of religious or philosophical beliefs of parents." (all but 2; and


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2010
Tue, 03-02-2010 - 4:40pm

All I can say to this is that I hope my homeschoolers will be capable of seeing a piece like this for what it is, an ad. How many readers saw this as an ad and how many saw it as some importance to society? As if we'll all die if the homeschoolers are walking around unvaccinated. Or worse, if we don't know exactly how many are unvaccinated and how many are vaccinated - then we can't define our lies to fit our scaretactics... A decent VAERS system would do the world a lot of good but here we have control freaks worried about paperwork .

Unfortunately this piece reads like the gospel according to many (if not most) adults - and few of them will ever question any of it unless some societal nudge occurs. In that case, most will continue to sheeple right along...and many will spread the word of how those scary homeschoolers are endangering everyone by not announcing their vaccine status to the world!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2010
Tue, 03-02-2010 - 4:54pm

Funny how she assumes that most homeschoolers are not vaccinated. Yet if we were to ask her why we don't see all these diseases in epidemic proportions (since numbers of homeschoolers are growing every year) she would likely blame it on *ALL* the school children who are *ALL* vaccinated --- providing that ever-so-generous herd protection...