Vaccines and Religious Exemption in Minnesota
Vaccines and related vaccine injuries in Minnesota have been in the news over the last few years. Many of stories have revolved around whether or not vaccines are dangerous and whether parents should be allowed to make the final decision on whether to exempt their child from routine vaccinations.
There are various exemptions available to parents to prevent their children from having to take mandatory vaccines. However, while many of those are medical exemptions, there are also non-medical exemptions. One of those is exemptions: religious beliefs.
What is a religious exemption?
In Minnesota, a personal or religious belief exemption allows for parents or child guardians to exempt their children from routine vaccinations required by the state and schools, on the grounds that participating in vaccination would contradict their personal beliefs.
When it comes to exemptions for vaccines in Minnesota, the state allows for both religious and personal belief exemptions. In fact, they do not distinguish between the two. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, someone can get a ‘non-medical exemption‘:
“If a child’s parent or guardian, or the child (in the case of an emancipated minor), wishes to be exempt, based on their beliefs, from one or more immunization requirements, the parent or child may submit a statement to this effect, signed by the submitting person and notarized.”
Students who are attending college in Minnesota may also obtain exemptions for religious and personal beliefs.
- The statewide average for parent opting out of having their children vaccinated is around 2%.
What are the regular vaccine requirements for Minnesota children?
The Minnesota requirements for children obtaining vaccines can be found here. Without an exemption, children are required to have a set of vaccines, depending on their age. These vaccines include:
Are there risks to getting a child vaccinated?
“Vaccines are safe,” says Narayan Nair. “That’s the message we need to get out there.”
Nair is a doctor, and he is also the head of the National Vaccine Compensation Program (VICP), the compensation fund set up in the 1980s for those injured by vaccines.
That may seem a little confusing – the head of the vaccine injury compensation fund talking about how vaccines are safe. They are, and they have saved lives. However, just like any other medical procedure, vaccines do pose a risk. Though the risk is small, people do still suffer adverse effects. Since the program began making payments to claimants of vaccine injuries, they have paid nearly $4 billion to those who are injured.
Our Mankato vaccine injury attorney Randall Knutson has publicly advocated for the transparency of vaccine risks in the past. He has been quoted by se
- During the latest year of data, 2018, there was a total of $199,658,492.49 awarded to petitioners.
How do I file a vaccine injury claim?
The first step you should take if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a vaccine injury is to secure an attorney who understands these cases. The process for filing a claim through the VICP can become complicated. An attorney will ensure that everything is in order and that your case is ready to be presented. This will include:
- Gathering all of the evidence to support your case. This includes your testimony as well as all medical records.
- An expert medical witness may be needed to examine your medical records and provide testimony on your behalf.
You do not have to worry about attorney expenses for these cases. The VICP also covers attorney fees as long as certain requirements are met, even if you are not ultimately awarded any compensation from the VICP.