Monday, June 20, 2011

New rules regarding vaccine exemptions

There are several new laws in various states regarding vaccine exemptions recently.

You can see the new and old versions of the vaccine exemption forms for one state here.

Previously, a medical provider was only required to sign the form for medical exemptions. Now, as of July 22, 2011, a medical provider has to sign the form for all exemptions except for one very narrow and strictly-defined type of religious exemption.

There is a limited list of approved health care providers, and all of them routinely charge for visits.

Some clinics are requiring separate appointments for each child to get the forms signed even if they have previously given the parents information about the benefits and risks of vaccines. So there may be a significant cost in money and time off work, etc. to fulfill this requirement.

The reality is that for many people this law is going to result in doctor appointments that otherwise wouldn’t have been needed in order to get their forms signed. Some families will not be able to afford this cost.

Even before this law was passed, health care providers were already required by law to give parents information about the benefits and risks of vaccines. The point of this law has nothing to do with making sure people are making an informed decision, and everything to do with simply making vaccine exemptions more difficult.

My child was not due for any doctor appointment this year (I actually called to make an appointment, and they told me she wasn’t due for her next well-child check until next year). But our pediatrician’s office said that they cannot sign the form without a well-child visit for that child in the current year.

So we had to make an otherwise-unnecessary appointment specifically to get the signature on the exemption form. We had already discussed it extensively with the doctor and received plenty of information, and agreed to hold off on one of the newly-required vaccines until the child is a bit older, although all the other vaccines are current.

Even with insurance, it’s costing me half a day and a copay just to get a signature saying that the doctor did what he was required to do.

Multiply that by the number of children, and it can become quite costly in missed work and/or school as well as financially.

Considering that medical providers were already required by law to discuss the benefits and risks of vaccines with parents, this seems unreasonable to me.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Apple Censors Historical Christianity as Hate Speech

Apple has such a tightly woven and well designed suite of products. I've seriously considered getting one or more of their products recently, but one thing always holds me back. Apple has taken it upon themselves censor robust and intellectual expressions of historical Christianity as hate speech. Of course, they don't do this with all Christian apps, but they have done so with the Manhattan Declaration app. Honestly, I figured when this happened that Apple would get egg on their face and back off. However, it's been over half a year and Apple doesn't seem to be backing off. Further, they seem to be completely recalcitrant to rational efforts of persuasion. And thus my quandry. I really like Apple products, but I refuse to purchase from a company that labels historical Christianity as hate speech and censors the free, robust and respectful expression of that faith. It bothers me that a company like Apple can so freely censor peoples' respectful expression of faith and continue their march on to ever greater profits. It bothers me more that the media would be running nonstop coverage of a similar group of liberals had put together a controversial app, but journalists ignore censorship when the people being censored are their political and religious enemies, and it is Steve Jobs doing the censoring.