What is the mission of the Maryland Coalition for Vaccination Choice (MDCVC)?The primary objective of the Maryland Coalition for Vaccine Choice (MDCVC) is to create, support, and pass a bill allowing for a Conscientious Exemption to Mandatory Vaccination in MD into law. If passed, Maryland would become one of 20 states to allow vaccination choice by providing parents with the right to a conscientious or philosophical vaccination exemption.  MDCVC believes vaccine mandates are unconstitutional and supports parents’ rights to informed consent regarding vaccination.  Informed consent requires that a parent/guardian be provided full disclosure of all information including vaccine ingredients, warnings, contraindications and possible adverse reactions resulting from administration as listed by the vaccine manufacturers and the Physician’s Desk Reference, (PDR).

2. Are vaccines required for children to attend school and daycare in Maryland? Maryland has mandatory vaccination regulations; however, a child can attend public or most private schools with select or no vaccines if the parent/guardian provides a valid medical or religious exemption certificate to the school administrator. Private and religiously affiliated schools may or may not accept religious vaccine exemptions, however.  MD does not currently allow parents to use a conscientious/philosophical vaccine exemption, which would change if a bill passed into law.

3. Which vaccines are mandated in Maryland for school and daycare attendance? You may visit the Maryland Department of Health and Human Services website for detailed information on vaccination mandates.

4. Does my child qualify for a medical exemption? A medical exemption letter must be written by a licensed physician in Maryland.  Medical exemptions would apply to individuals who are allergic to any components of the vaccines, those who have had severe reactions in the past and to those individuals with a family history of allergies.  Also, some immune-compromised individuals taking specific medications should not receive certain vaccines. Siblings’ adverse reactions do not automatically exempt a child although should be thoroughly considered prior to vaccination. Medical contraindications to vaccines are listed in the manufacturer’s package insert and the Physician’s Desk Reference, yet guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and/or Centers for Disease Control usually define the medical condition/status that is acceptable for a medical exemption. Click Here for further details. The exemption shall exist only for the length of time, in the opinion of the physician; such immunization would be detrimental to the child.  An exemption from immunization for one disease shall not affect other required immunizations.

However, be aware that in the event of an outbreak of a communicable disease for which immunization is required, children exempted shall not attend the school or childcare agency threatened by the communicable disease.

5. Does my child qualify for a religious exemption and how do I claim this? In order to qualify for a religious exemption, you must have sincere religious beliefs that prohibit vaccination.  You are not obligated to disclose your religion to obtain a religious exemption. It is suggested that you have multiple copies notarized (doctors offices, school, sports, summer camp, etc.). However, be aware that in the event of an outbreak of a communicable disease for which immunization is required, children exempted shall not attend the school or childcare agency threatened by the communicable disease.

6. I am opposed to vaccinations for reasons other than religion. What kind of exemption can I file so my child can attend school? Currently the state of Maryland will only accept one of two vaccine exemptions:  medical or religious.  If your child has a medical condition which warrants a medical exemption, you can request a letter from your licensed physician. Religious exemptions are available to those who believe that vaccinations conflict with their religious beliefs/tenets. If you do not provide a medical or religious exemption, or vaccinate your child with the state-mandated vaccines, your school administrator will be required to expel your child from school. Once created and legislated, a conscientious belief exemption will allow parents to have the right to pick and choose, based on their informed decisions and personal, conscientious belief, individual vaccines or no vaccines for their children to attend school.

7. I am atheist or agnostic. What exemption is available to my family? There is no provision in the current law for individuals who wish to be exempt from vaccination for reasons other than religious or medical. MD’s current exemptions are in violation of the Constitution. The conscientious exemption bill will correct this violation.

8. I cannot locate a thimerosal-free flu shot for my child. Any suggestions? The MD Department of Health and Human Services has stated that it does not regulate or control the state’s vaccine supply with the exception of those vaccinations that are provided for those that are underinsured or via Medicare. However, this does not ensure that vaccinations obtained through these programs are thimerosal-free.  It is therefore a parent/guardian’s choice and responsibility to locate a thimerosal-free version of the flu shot, or other mandated vaccine for their child(ren).

9. Now that I’ve started to vaccinate my child(ren), am I required to continue? You always have the right to consider what is best for your child(ren). If you choose to discontinue or delay vaccinating, however, your child is still expected to receive all state mandated vaccinations to enter school unless you claim a medical or a religious exemption.

10. How do I know if my child has an egg allergy and may react to a vaccine? Flu vaccines, as well as other vaccines, are grown on egg embryos and usually contain egg and other foreign proteins. If you are not certain if your child has an egg allergy and you would like to continue vaccinating, you should consult an allergy specialist who may provide a blood or skin prick test to determine if he/she may have a reaction. Laboratory-confirmed egg allergies are a contraindication to receiving egg-containing vaccines such as influenza and varicella. The risk is anaphylaxis. The Contraindications to Vaccination listed by the CDC can be found here. For a list of vaccine ingredients, click here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/B/excipient-table-2.pdf

11. I believe my child has had a vaccine reaction, but my doctor says not to worry about it or that it is unrelated to the vaccines. What can I do? If your child has had an adverse reaction to a vaccine, or combination of vaccines (you may review the manufacturers’ package inserts online or the Physician’s Desk Reference for more details), your doctor is required by law to report the adverse events to federal health authorities within 30 days of occurrence. If your doctor refuses (be sure to document this refusal in writing), you have the right to submit your own report. Even common, mild side effects should be reported to the federal vaccine tracking database.  Click here to access details on filing a report with VAERS, Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System: https://secure.vaers.org/VaersDataEntryintro.htm. Most reports take less than 15 minutes to complete and can be submitted online or printed and mailed. A copy of the form can be found here .

12. What is the status of MD’s conscientious exemption bill and how can I help to make it a law in MD?

Our Coalition encourages everyone to get involved and help to garner support for a bill.  Also, please take a moment to let your voice be counted and sign our petition. HERE

Thank you for your support of the MD Coalition for Vaccination Choice.

We gratefully acknowledge the NJ and NH Coalition for Vaccination Choice for sharing content contained on their website used to create this webpage.

The contents of MDCVC and related Web sites are intended to provide useful health information to the general public. All materials, including texts, graphics, images, and audio, on MDCVC are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment for specific medical conditions. All visitors to MDCVC should seek expert medical care and consult their own physicians for any specific health issues. MDCVC does not recommend or endorse specific tests, procedures, advice, or other information found on MDCVC. The MD Coalition for Vaccination Choice (MDCVC) specifically disclaim all responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use or application of any of the material on this site.