In 47 states and the District of Columbia, nonmedical vaccine exemptions are in effect.

Children who cannot be vaccinated because they are too young or have certain medical conditions depend on the immunity of their peers and surrounding community to protect them. That’s why mandatory vaccine laws seek to make as many people immune to these diseases as possible. As misinformation and fears surrounding vaccines have spread, the number of people abusing nonmedical vaccine loopholes has increased in recent years. This has tragically resulted in outbreaks of dangerous diseases like measles that previously were almost entirely eradicated thanks to vaccines.

The Secular Coalition for California joined the Vaccinate California coalition which successfully advocated for the repeal of the state’s nonmedical vaccine exemptions. Through its Put Kids First campaign, the Secular Coalition for America continues to support efforts to repeal nonmedical vaccine exemptions in every state and Washington, D.C.

The government has a constitutional duty to enforce laws that protect children from harm. Unfortunately, special religious exemptions from laws that apply to everyone else are creating dangerous loopholes that are putting children in harm’s way. Laws intended to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, especially children, should put safety before personal beliefs. No harm, no exceptions. It’s time to put kids first.