MSHD to allow religious exemptions for immunizations

Exemptions begin Monday.
Exemptions begin Monday.(MGN)
Published: Jul. 14, 2023 at 4:09 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Beginning Monday, the Mississippi State Health Department will begin offering religious exemptions in addition to the existing medical exemption process in compliance with the federal court order entered in April.

For a religious exemption, a parent or guardian will schedule an appointment at a county health department and submit Form 139-R, which can be found on the MSDH website or at HD locations.

During the appointment, the parent or guardian will be required to watch a vaccine education video and will have an opportunity to ask questions. HD staff will also complete Form 139-R and submit the completed form to the state epidemiologist for review.

The epidemiologist will then approve and issue exemptions when parents or guardians (religious) or physicians (medical) complete the required process and request form. The Form 122 providing documentation of the exemption will be provided to the parent or guardian, the physician (if applicable) and the school if that information is provided on the form.

In each exemption process, the parent or guardian will be informed of any vaccine-preventable diseases for which the child has not been adequately immunized and current outbreaks that may prevent the child from attending daycare or school.

“Because of our long-existing and strong immunizations program, Mississippi has not recorded a measles case since 1992 even as other states have seen cases and outbreaks in recent years,” states Interim State Epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Taylor. “MSDH urges parents to carefully consider the importance of vaccinating our children and continues to encourage all individuals to remain up to date on all vaccinations unless medically contraindicated.”

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