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Allegheny County Health Department and School Districts Misinforming the Public

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Allegheny County Health Department and some Pennsylvania school districts are blatantly misinforming the public regarding vaccine requirements for the upcoming 2009-10 school year, according to the national organization AutismLink.

The Health Department, in several recent advertisements, news releases and announcements is informing parents that up-to-date immunizations are required for school attendance and that in 2008 the Allegheny County Health Department changed vaccination requirements for ALL school-aged children. They state that those who have not provided documentation of compliance with the new immunization requirements will not be permitted to attend school or participate in extra-curricular activities at the start of the 2009-10 school year.

This is blatantly false. "Many parents feel very strongly about following a less rigorous vaccine schedule than that recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Allegheny County Health Department. Telling parents that they MUST vaccinate their child or they will be thrown out of school is misinformation," said Cindy Waeltermann, Director of AutismLink. Waeltermann stresses that many parents of children with autism, in particular, choose to follow a less aggressive vaccination schedule. "We are not telling parents not to immunize. We are telling them that they have a choice."

Pennsylvania state law, under Section 23.84 can be found on the Pennsylvania Code Law website ( states that you may claim Medical or Religious exemption if you object to vaccinations if the parent, guardian or emancipated child objects in writing to the immunization on religious grounds or on the basis of a strong moral or ethical conviction similar to a religious belief.

Obviously, we don't want to see dangerous diseases making a comeback, but some parents are afraid of vaccine safety, particularly after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have conceded in 1,322 cases that vaccines may have triggered autism in some children. In addition, the newly released H1N1 vaccine was tested for only five days prior to its release, and contains trace amounts of mercury.

A simple letter to your school district stating that you morally and ethically object to vaccinating your child must be honored by your school district, Waeltermann said. "Allegheny County - or any County in Pennsylvania for that matter - cannot trump state law."

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SOURCE AutismLink
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