Sixela Yoccm
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All over the US – Hospitals, Nursing Homes, and Health Care facilities alike, all have mandatory annual Influenza vaccines and TB skin testing. And while some workers find it necessary and even helpful, others just find it down right unconstitutional to their human rights. If you happen to be a Health Care worker who’s not at all in favor of the mandatory vaccines, you’ll find the following information very helpful.

All states allow for some type of exemption from vaccinations. Vaccine exemptions generally fall into three types of exemption – medical, religious belief and personal/conscientious belief. Since the majority of us live in Missouri, we’ll discuss Missouri’s exemptions.

All 50 states allow medical exemption to vaccination. In most states, a medical exemption must be written by a medical doctor (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.). Some states also allow other state-designated health care workers to certify that the administration of one or more state mandated vaccines would be detrimental to the health of an individual. Most states do not allow a doctor of chiropractic to write medical vaccine exemptions.

In the state of Missouri 2 of 3 vaccine exemptions are acknowledged – Medical and Religious. Here are the definitions of the two acknowledged types of exemptions provided by the National Vaccine Information CenterMedical Exemptions:

Religious Exemption: The constitutional right to have and exercise personal religious beliefs, whether you are of the Christian, Jewish, Muslim or other faith, can be defended. In the Old Testament of the Bible, Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice his son to demonstrate his faith. Although Abraham is willing, God does not force Abraham to sacrifice his son. In fact, God makes it clear that human sacrifice to demonstrate allegiance is not appropriate. Constitutionally, Americans have an expectation that their religious beliefs will be respected and that government will not pass laws that obstruct the exercise of this most fundamental of freedoms.

Philosophical, Conscientious or Personal Belief Exemption: This type of exemption is for individuals who hold conscientious objections to one or more vaccines. Less than half of U.S. states allow for an exemption to vaccination based on philosophical, personal or conscientiously held beliefs.”

If you have identified yourself as a medical and/or religious vaccine exemption candidate, your next step is to do your own personal research on these various vaccines. According to the CDC “The Mantoux tuberculin skin test (TST), is the standard method of determining whether a person is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Reliable administration and reading of the TST requires standardization of procedures, training, supervision, and practice. The TST is performed by injecting 0.1 ml of tuberculin purified protein derivative (PPD) into the inner surface of the forearm.”

Now, depending on the health care facility, even a vaccine exemption form may not work against the TB skin test, but fortunately, TST isn’t the only way to test someone for TB. There’s a blood test that can be done to determine TB in a much more effective way. According to the T-Spot official website “The T-SPOT.TB test is a blood test for tuberculosis (TB) screening performed in one visit, using one blood collection tube. An alternative to the TB skin test, over 1000 institutions have already seen how EASY TB testing is with the T-SPOT.TB test.” So why don’t all facilities offer this method of testing instead of the TST? The answer is simple; each and every facility has a unique policy. So the next time you’re offered a TST, ask for the T-SPOT instead.

Influenza vaccines, also known as flu shots, are vaccines that protect against influenza. A new version of the vaccine is developed twice a year as the influenza virus rapidly changes. Let’s stop there.  Basically every 6 months, a new flu vaccine is created based on educated guess, not at all facts. These two vaccines then go into circulation all over the country to then be administered to infants, school children, adults, and the elderly. There are also three types of Influenza vaccines; high-dose vaccine, intradermal vaccine, and a nasal spray (persons with an egg allergy should not get the standard flu vaccine.) All of these have age restrictions.

Here’s why the CDC believes that people should receive the flu vaccine, “Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. During recent flu seasons, between 80% and 90% of flu related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older. “Flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May. During this time, flu viruses are circulating at higher levels in the U.S. population. An annual seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.”

So now that you have a little something to work of in furthering your research, here’s how you can protect yourself and submit a vaccine exemption letter to your employer. You can contact your local health department and ask them for either a medical or religious exemption form. Make sure to contact you Human Resources Department to find out what the annual cut-off submission date is for vaccine exemption forms. If you call your local health department and they are out of vaccine exemption forms and you’re pressed for time, you always have the option to type up your own exemption letter, for a religious exemption. If your exemption is medical, you will need your doctor to provide proof of your medical exemption and sign off on your letter/form. There are lots of sample exemption letters online, but the source I have found to be the most helpful is the Vaccination Liberation Exemption website. This website breaks down exemptions state by state for early childcare, schools and universities, employees, and even animals. My advice to you is to print off 3 copies of your exemption and get each one notarized by a public notary. This ensures that you have a copy for your own records at home.

You should never feel like you’re in a position where you have to choose between your beliefs and morals or your work place.

“It’s not only important to know your rights, but it’s even more important that you exercise them.” #BecauseSixLovesYou.