Which Vaccines Are Typically Purely Optional?

Updated on January 20, 2011
J.B. asks from Lanoka Harbor, NJ
18 answers

I thought the chicken pox vaccine was an optional vaccination but the found out that it is a required vaccine (with the exception of a medical or religious reason) to attend day care/ school in the state of NJ. Which vaccines are typically optional and not required for school admission?

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answers from St. Louis on

It varies by state. (I know at one point, Texas required girls to receive the Gardasil shot even). Here is the stuff the CDC has listed for New Jersey.


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answers from Austin on

All of them are optional. No one can force you to get your children vaccinated.


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answers from Phoenix on

I would read the Dr. Sears Vaccination book. It is very informative about all vaccines.

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answers from Bellingham on

ALL vaccines are purely optional. They are required for school (in your state) unless you state that you have a religious or medical reasons for not vaccinating. http://www.nvic.org/newjersey.aspx
So if you don't want them to be vaccinated w/ chickenpox it's ok. I feel like parents should learn all they can about the vaccination and the disease it's designed to prevent, and then decide if the pros are worth the cons. Personally, my DS is NOT vaccinated from hep A/B, chickenpox, Rotavirus, MMR (will be later), or flu.
They "recommend" all of them. (except for obscure stuff like rabies or smallpox) http://www.holmdel.k12.nj.us/schools/pdf/vaccines.pdf

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answers from Seattle on

My state has a personal/philosophical exemption for all vaccines. Make absolutely sure your state doesn't! Maybe tell the doctor your family has a history of shingles and you're concerned that kids are getting them these days earlier (after the vaccination came out)? In my well-researched opinion, most of them aren't 100% necessary, but definitely rotavirus, gardasil, varicella, hep a/b, meningitis, and the flu. Tetanus is the only noncurable disease we get vaccinated for! There are only two states without exemption laws, so everyone should check both their states laws and do their own research on what they're blindly putting in their childrens' bodies. Does everyone do every single thing the government and medical know it alls say they should? ;) www.thedoctorwithin.com or read dr sears vaccine book. HTH!

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answers from Philadelphia on

Not sure, but I have never given my kids the flu vaccine or H1N1 flu vaccine. Also, in PA the schools are now requiring 2 chicken pox shots. My doc said in about 20% of the population one vaccine does not give the kids the proper protection yet the protocol is to revaccinate everyone! Long story short... I did not want to inject my kids with another vaccine if not necessary so I had their titers checked (simple blood test ordered by the pediatrician). My youngest daughter did not need the additional vaccine and my oldest daughter fell in the 20% of the population that did need the second vaccine so she had it.

Also, I opted not to give my oldest the Guardasil vaccine. This is way too new in my opinion and cervical cancer is preventable. I told my daughter she can make the decision herself when she is older.

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answers from Honolulu on

Hepatitis A
.... as far as what I know... of.

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answers from Rochester on

I'm so confused about all this. It seems the vaccine that supposedly causes downs syndrome was not true at all. They say kids/people who are not vaccinated can cause others to become very sick and can die because there are not any/many cures for the things these vaccines are meant to prevent. I used to want to keep my kids from getting vaccines, but now I certainly have changed my mind.



answers from Dallas on

All are optional if you get a state exemption(it doesn't have to be just for medical or religious reasons) But I do believe that day cares have the right to refuse you if your child is not vaccinated(I could be wrong on that , but you might want to check it out)
The typical ones can be found online at your schools policy code or at the state health website- mainly they are the MMR, chicken pox/varceilla(sp?) DtaP and Hep. There might be some others as it seems there are 7 or 8 that are "required" by our schools. The flu shot is considered optional but highly recommended.



answers from New York on

I think the flu is optional.



answers from Cleveland on

flu shot and i thought the chicken pox but i am not totally sure any more i know the chicken pox is a good one because it can help with the chicken pox because those are VERY dangerous


answers from Chicago on

It varies by state. We opt out of Hep A here (I live in IL now) because it is optional but have gotten all of the others from the main panel of scheduled shots. If we ever decide to visit some rural area in Central/South America or Africa with our kids (where CDC says the risk is), then we will get it then. You can find the guidelines by googling generally for your state and immunizations...that is how I found mine. Varicella USED to be optional I think when it first came out and before that it wasn't generally used or non-existent (like when I was a child and everyone just GOT the chicken pox) but in Pennsylvania, by the time my sister was getting ready for college in 2000, it was required for admission to college (unless you had chicken pox and it was documented-- she never did so she had to get it). Hard to keep up with so many new shots coming on the market.



answers from Seattle on

PRIVATE schools, anywhere in the country, can require any vaccine that they choose to be mandatory. Private schools can, to a great degree, require *almost* anything for admisson. They can require that the kids who attend be gifted, or have autism, or be deaf, or that parents pay X amount, or that GPAs remain above X level, or that parents attend a certain number of days, or vaxs are required, or uniforms, or, or, or, or. Public schools, otoh, usually have a religious or personal reasons opt out option AND cannot exclude anyone for any reason. Even if a kid has killed another kid, they can only be expelled from the school... they're still required to be educated by the state... so they usually just go to another school in the district.

But back to private school requirements (and nearly all preschools are private schools, even most schools that accept HeadStart are private, although there are a few PURELY state operated preschools).

My son's preschool, for example, was a private montessori school that required all "standard" vaccines -meaning we didn't need to vax for yellow fever, smallpox, or any other vaccines that are recommended for travel outside the US- but all of the standard US ones were required prior to admission, and the cards with boosters had to be updated as gotten. Because of their Vax policy, and their VERY strict "no sick children" policy... the school was a favorite of Children's Hospital parents. Because of the school's policies their kids going through chemo or who had had organ transplants were able to attend school instead of being homeschooled. (Kids in chemo have NO immune system, and kids who have had organ transplants are on immunosuppressants. Even a cold can turn deadly in either case, much less the illnesses we vax for.) HOWEVER, because they're private... they COULD have chosen to require vaccines that are not common in the US (like yellow fever). They didn't. But if it was a requirement for entry, since it's a voluntary enrollement, if I chose not to follow their policies, my son would either have been asked to leave or not admitted in the first place.



answers from Honolulu on

None anymore (not unless you get the waver thing for school and preschool). At least not in Hawaii. You even have to checked for TB to go to school in Hawaii.



answers from New York on

I didn't read through all the responses, but in NJ, all vaccines are required unless you get an exemption. NJ does NOT allow for a philosophical exemption, only a religious one. Even the flu shot is required. The only way around this is either to claim the religious exemption (although it is illegal for anyone to ask exactly WHAT your religion is) or to find a doctor who will allow you to get "secret vaccinations." That means that, on official record, you don't get your child vaccinated. But if you choose to get some, your ped will give them, and just not mark them on your child's chart. Those are the only two ways to get around it. There is a campaign going to allow philosophical exemptions, but for now you can only claim religious. So you basically have to go all or none.



answers from Boston on

Rotavirus, but that's for little ones. Hep A. Meningitis. Gardasil. Flu. My guess is that the rest of them are required. Your best bet is to talk to your pediatrician. Good luck.



answers from Dallas on

Your school district or even state department of health can probably give you the best information on this.



answers from Rochester on

I wish I had an answer for you but I don't since all 5 of my children are grown now and don't go to school anymore. But I do have a question for you. Why don't you want your child vaccinated?

The reason I ask is, as a child I had Chicken Pox, Measles and even the Mumps! They were terrible!! I remember having each of them! They were painful and sometimes even left awful scars. I also knew kids that got polio.
And babies that had Whooping Cough. Some even died from it.

Mind you, I am not criticizing you, I just don't understand. All 5 of my children were vaccinated against everything and none of them had any problems. I have 7 grand children and all of them have been vaccinated as well, with no problems.

Like I said, I just don't understand why you would not want your child vaccinated. Is there something I don't know?

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