Religious and philosophical exemptions are the focus of parental decisions to opt out of vaccines, which have been proven safe and effective over and over again.

Just as parents have taken the time to better understand the issues behind those reasons, they should also be fully aware of the full picture that comes along with not vaccinating, which includes susceptibility to disease, with the potential to spread preventable illness to others.

Moves to make that education more widely understood before parents put their decision in writing should be lauded rather than criticized.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s role is to promote public wellness.

Providing families with facts does not limit their ability to still opt out. Giving them clear, science-based information is in line with its mission.

Parent choice has never been taken off the table in these proposals.

Informing parents of what their choice can do to friends and neighbors too young to be vaccinated or who are immunocompromised is only fair.

If we, as pediatric providers, are required to obtain informed consent, we should also require informed refusal from parents.

Dr. Eve H. Switzer, Northwest Pediatrics

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