Virginia lawmakers decided not to move forward with a plan to eliminate religious exemptions for vaccines in the state. Instead, they asked that the matter be studied further by the state's Joint Commission on Healthcare. A Friday public poll is under way.
A similar bill that removed religious exemptions regarding vaccines was passed in California last year. Only three states have passed similar legislation, reports ABC News, whose staff is running an online poll Friday (Jan. 29) to gather people's opinion on this matter. Click here to participate in the poll.
At publishing time, respondents to the poll were running 69 percent not in favor of religious exemptions for vaccines to 31 percent in favor.
ABC cited a parent who said, "Tremendous harm was done by those vaccines to her son." Lisa Sykes said vaccines with high levels of mercury are to blame for her son Wesley being diagnosed with autism when he was two-and-a-half years old.
Sykes told ABC she is not anti-vaccines, but based on her experience, she stayed away from some vaccines when it came to Wesley's younger brother, Joshua. She said she would not want those decisions to be taken out of parents' hands.
"It's a mistake for the government to start telling parents and physicians what to do in regard to a child," said Sykes.
Sykes calls for an investigation of every ingredient in vaccines to be assessed. "Safety trials need to be very rigorous so we know what exactly are the risks," said Sykes.
But pediatrician Dr. Gayle Schrier Smith of Partners in Pediatrics in Richmond, Va., told ABC studies have looked at places where there are a high number of unvaccinated children, and the results speak for themselves.
"It's pretty hard to find a religion that opposes vaccines across the board," Smith said.
Online feedback/comments to the poll so far include:
"Parents should have the religious freedom of choice for their children. Keep government out of religion."
"Yes, we should be allowed to make our OWN decisions for EVERY medical decision for ourselves and our kids. We are planning on moving to Virginia come summer so guess need to keep track of this tyrannical scheme. Pass it and well there goes us moving there."