Disclaimer: This page is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as legal advice, nor is it intended to take the place of appropriate legal counsel. As with any legal matter, you should consult a qualified lawyer for your specific needs.
Below is a sample letter that was designed by PAVE which we have been told meets the legal requirements for a religious exemption to vaccination in the state of North Carolina; however, the state does not want you to submit anything that looks like a "form" (there is no official state form for NC). Therefore, you may type or handwrite the information we have provided below, filling in the required information, or use it as a template. You DO NOT have to explain your beliefs. According to Dennis McBride, former director of the NC Dept. of Immunization, all a parent (or person seeking to claim an exemption) has to do is "write down on a sheet of paper that the immunization laws of North Carolina are contrary to their religious beliefs, sign it, and turn it in" to the person requesting their immunization records. You can read the state's policy at http://www.immunizenc.com/Exemptions.htm. Scroll down to the following information:
"There is no form for requesting religious exemptions in North Carolina. To claim a religious exemption, the parent or person requesting the exemption must write a statement of their religious objection to immunization, including the name and date of birth of the person for whom the exemption is being requested. This statement would then be provided to schools, child care programs, camps, etc. in place of an immunization record. If a family is requesting a religious exemption for more than one child, a separate statement should be prepared for each child. Statements of religious objection to immunization do not need to be notarized or prepared by an attorney. They do not need to be submitted to the state for review or approval."
NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL STATUTE 130A-157
SECTION 130A-157. Religious exemption. - If the bona fide religious beliefs of an adult or the parent, guardian or person in loco parentis of a child are contrary to the immunization requirements contained in this Part [Chapter 130A, Article 6, Part B], the adult or the child shall be exempt from the requirements. Upon submission of a written statement of the bona fide religious beliefs and opposition to the immunization requirements, the person may attend the college, university, school or facility without presenting a certificate of immunization.
Homeschooling parents should keep their exemption letter in their home with their homeschool documentation. If you would like to use our information to compose your letter, please feel free to. PAVE offers this information at no cost but a donation to help us continue our efforts is greatly needed and appreciated.
Keep in mind that the state most likely did not institute the use of an official state form so that parents would feel intimidated by having to write their "statement of beliefs" instead of just filling in a simple form. Do not be intimidated. Simply follow the state's own instructions and you are in compliance with the law.
The following answers come from our experience in talking with parents who have exemption questions. It is not intended to serve as legal advice, nor is it intended to take the place of appropriate legal counsel. As with any legal matter, you should consult a qualified lawyer for your specific needs.
Will a private school accept my child's religious exemption?
In North Carolina, a private school can exclude your child for any reason, including lack of vaccination. However, it all depends on the individual policy of the institution.
I've been told it is an all or nothing decision, either my child receives all the vaccines or none of the vaccines in order to obtain a religious exemption. Is this true?
No. You have the right to choose which, if any, vaccines your child receives. However, if your case goes to court, the judge may not rule in your favor. You may want to read the court case of Susan LePage vs. State of Wyoming, Dept. of Health (2001 WY 26) which states that "where a statute uses the mandatory language 'shall', a court must obey the statute as a court has no right to make the law contrary to what is prescribed in the legislature."
Does a minister or head of a religious order need to sign the exemption?
No. You do not need the signature of anyone other than the child's legal guardian.
Must I attend, adhere to the beliefs of, or be a member of, a recognized religious order to obtain an exemption?
No, not in the state of North Carolina. Technically, no state can require this as it is a violation of your constitutional rights.
Must I write down or explain my bona fide (genuine) religious beliefs?
No. A "statement of belief" as described above on the state site, is a statement that "the immunization laws of North Carolina are contrary to your religious beliefs", nothing else.
Can my religious exemption be denied?
Not legally. A judge may rule against you but no judge can rightfully deny your claim to a religious exemption.
Can I submit a religious exemption if my child is a ward of the state?
It is our understanding that you can do this as long as your parental rights have not been terminated; however, a judge may rule against you for whatever reason they can come up with.
If I am an adherent of a mainstream religious denomination such as Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc., whose tenets do not directly oppose vaccination, can I still claim a religious exemption?
Yes. The NC statute states that it must be a "bona fide religious belief", meaning, in a word, "genuine".
Must my religious exemption form or letter be notarized?
This is not necessary but you may do so if you feel it will make it more "official".
Must an attorney write my exemption letter?
According to the state, this is not necessary. It can be quite an expense for something that is already guaranteed you by state law. If your exemption is denied by the state you may wish to contact an attorney. If it is denied by a school official you should contact the Dept. of Immunization. (See below.)
Who may I contact if a NC school or daycare official refuses my exemption?
Contact the NC Dept. of Immunization (919-707-5550) and someone there will be glad to help you.
Must a daycare, whether public or private, accept a religious exemption?
Yes. Any licensed NC daycare must keep your exemption letter on file with their legal documents. Daycares must report to the state once a year the vaccination and exemption information for children in their care. The NC Licensing Division of Childcare Services says that the childcare can deny access by stating that it's a liability issue for them if a child is not vaccinated. The Licensing Division recommends seeking legal counsel if a parent wishes to pursue this further.
Can a physician legally refuse to provide medical services to those with religious exemptions?
According to the Liberty Counsel, since the First Amendment only protects a person from discrimination by the government, a patient cannot use the Constitution to force private health care workers to provide treatment. Although an individual has a constitutional right to choose or refuse treatment, the individual cannot use the Constitution to force a private physician to provide such treatment. Private insurance companies may also deny coverage for the same reason as well because there is no law which guarantees health coverage.
How do I know if my beliefs are religious in nature?
According to author Jamie Murphy in his book What Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Immunization, "A person's belief may, but doesn't have to, include belief in a deity, must be chief in importance in a person's life, and the person must be living by these beliefs."
An excellent discussion on your rights regarding a religious exemption can be purchased from the National Vaccine Information Center for $7.50. Click on the following link and select item number 4.
section .0400 - IMMUNIZATION
10A NCAC 41A .0401 DOSAGE AND AGE REQUIREMENTS FOR IMMUNIZATION
(a) Every individual in North Carolina required to be immunized pursuant to G.S. 130A‑152 through 130A‑157 shall be immunized against the following diseases by receiving the specified minimum doses of vaccines by the specified ages:
(1) Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough vaccine ‑‑ five doses: three doses by age seven months and two booster doses, one by age 19 months and the second on or after the fourth birthday and before enrolling in school (K‑1) for the first time. However:
(A) An individual who has attained his or her seventh birthday without having been immunized against whooping cough shall not be required to be immunized with a vaccine preparation containing whooping cough antigen;
(B) Individuals who receive the first booster dose of diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough vaccine on or after the fourth birthday shall not be required to have a second booster dose;
(C) Individuals attending school, college or university or who began their tetanus/diphtheria toxoid series on or after the age of seven years shall be required to have three doses of tetanus/diphtheria toxoid of which one must have been within the last 10 years;
(D) The requirements for booster doses of diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough vaccine shall not apply to individuals who enrolled for the first time in the first grade before July 1, 1987.
(2) Poliomyelitis vaccine--four doses: two doses of trivalent type by age five months; a third dose trivalent type before age 19 months, and a booster dose of trivalent type before enrolling in school (K-1) for the first time. However:
(A) An individual attending school who has attained his or her 18th birthday shall not be required to receive polio vaccine;
(B) Individuals who receive the third dose of poliomyelitis vaccine on or after the fourth birthday shall not be required to receive a fourth dose;
(C) The requirements for booster doses of poliomyelitis vaccine shall not apply to individuals who enrolled for the first time in the first grade before July 1, 1987.
(3) Measles (rubeola) vaccine--two doses of live, attenuated vaccine administered at least 28 days apart: one dose on or after age 12 months and before age 16 months and a second dose before enrolling in school (K-1) for the first time. However:
(A) An individual who has been documented by serological testing to have a protective antibody titer against measles shall not be required to receive measles vaccine;
(B) An individual who has been diagnosed prior to January 1, 1994, by a physician licensed to practice medicine as having measles (rubeola) disease shall not be required to receive measles vaccine;
(C) An individual born prior to 1957 shall not be required to receive measles vaccine;
(D) The requirement for a second dose of measles vaccine shall not apply to individuals who enroll in school (K-1) or in college or university for the first time before July 1, 1994.
(4) Rubella vaccine--one dose of live, attenuated vaccine on or after age 12 months and before age 16 months. However:
(A) An individual who has been documented by serologic testing to have a protective antibody titer against rubella shall not be required to receive rubella vaccine;
(B) An individual who has attained his or her fiftieth birthday shall not be required to receive rubella vaccine except in outbreak situations;
(C) An individual who entered a college or university after his or her thirtieth birthday and before February 1, 1989 shall not be required to meet the requirement for rubella vaccine except in outbreak situations.
(5) Mumps vaccine--one dose of live, attenuated vaccine administered on or after age 12 months and before age 16 months. However:
(A) An individual born prior to 1957 shall not be required to receive mumps vaccine;
(B) The requirements for mumps vaccine shall not apply to individuals who enrolled for the first time in the first grade before July 1, 1987 or in college or university before July 1, 1994.
(C) An individual who has been documented by serological testing to have a protective antibody titer against mumps shall not be required to receive mumps vaccine.
(6) Haemophilus influenzae, b, conjugate vaccine--three doses of HbOC or PRP-T or two doses of PRP-OMP before age seven months and a booster dose of any type on or after age 12 months and by age 16 months. However:
(A) Individuals born before October 1, 1988 shall not be required to be vaccinated against Haemophilus influenzae, b;
(B) Individuals who receive the first dose of Haemophilus influenzae, b, vaccine on or after 12 months of age and before 15 months of age shall be required to have only two doses of HbOC, PRP-T or PRP-OMP;
(D) Individuals who receive the first dose of Haemophilus influenzae, b, vaccine on or after 15 months of age shall be required to have only one dose of any of the Haemophilus influenzae conjugate vaccines, including PRP-D;
(E) No individual who has passed their fifth birthday shall be required to be vaccinated against Haemophilus influenzae, b.
(7) Hepatitis B vaccine--three doses: one dose by age three months, a second dose before age five months and a third dose by age 19 months. However:
(A) The last dose of the hepatitis B vaccine series shall not be administered prior to 24 weeks of age;
(B) Individuals born before July 1, 1994 shall not be required to be vaccinated against hepatitis B.
(8) Varicella vaccine--1 dose administered on or after age 12 months and before age 19 months. However:
(A) An individual with a laboratory test indicating immunity or with a history of varicella disease, documented by a health care provider, parent, guardian or person in loco parentis shall not be required to receive varicella vaccine. Serologic proof of immunity or documentation of previous illness must be presented whenever a certificate of immunization is required by North Carolina General Statute. The documentation shall include the name of the individual with a history of varicella disease and the approximate date or age of infection. Previous illness shall be documented by:
(i) a written statement from a health care provider documented on or attached to the lifetime immunization card or certificate of immunization; or
(ii) a written statement from the individual's parent, guardian or person in loco parentis attached to the lifetime immunization card or certificate of immunization.
(B) An individual born prior to April 1, 2001 shall not be required to receive varicella vaccine.
(9) The healthcare provider shall administer immunizations in accordance with this Rule. However, if a healthcare provider administers vaccine up to and including the fourth day prior to the required minimum age, the individual dose is not required to be repeated. Doses administered more than 4 days prior to the requirements are considered invalid doses and shall be repeated.
(b) The State Health Director may suspend temporarily any portion of the requirements of these immunization rules due to emergency conditions, such as the unavailability of vaccine. The Department shall give notice in writing to all local health departments and other providers currently receiving vaccine from the Department when the suspension takes effect and when the suspension is lifted. When any vaccine series is disrupted by such a suspension, the next dose shall be required to be administered within 90 days of the lifting of the suspension and the series resumed in accordance with intervals determined by the most recent recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
History Note: Authority G.S. 130A‑152(c); 130A‑155.1;
Eff. February 1, 1976;
Amended Eff. July 1, 1977;
Readopted Eff. December 5, 1977;
Temporary Amendment Eff. February 1, 1988, for a period of 180 days to expire on July 29, 1988;
Amended Eff. October 1, 1995; October 1, 1994; January 1, 1994; January 4, 1993;
Temporary Amendment Eff. February 23, 2000; August 20, 1999; May 21, 1999;
Amended Eff. August 1, 2000;
Temporary Amendment Eff. May 17, 2002; April 1, 2002; February 18, 2002; August 1, 2001;
Amended Eff. November 1, 2005; January 1, 2005; April 1, 2003.
Teresa Binstock, researcher in Developmental & Behavioral Neuroanatomy, says that families with autism merit exemptions from forced vaccinations. A range of immune impairments are documented in autism. Some of these impairments can be acquired, some are genetic. Those that are genetic are thus familial -- in that the father or mother is carrying the immune-impairing gene (.eg, a null allele for C4b). Siblings may also carry such gene alleles.
As a result, autistic children and their families should be
exempted from dangerous vaccinations. Furthermore, the genetic
Categories of exempted individuals and their families must
include families with autism and their relatives. Herewith are
1: Jyonouchi H, Sun S, Itokazu N.
2: Krause I, He XS, Gershwin ME, Shoenfeld Y.
3: Kidd PM.
4: Vojdani A, Campbell AW, Anyanwu E, Kashanian A, Bock K,
5: Singh VK, Lin SX, Newell E, Nelson C.
6: Wakefield AJ, Puleston JM, Montgomery SM, Anthony A, O'Leary
JJ, Murch SH.
7: Korvatska E, Van de Water J, Anders TF, Gershwin ME.
8: Jyonouchi H, Sun S, Le H.
9: Hornig M, Lipkin WI.
10: Torres AR, Maciulis A, Odell D.
11: Malek-Ahmadi P.
12: Binstock T.
13: Gupta S.
14: Fiumara A, Sciotto A, Barone R, D'Asero G, Munda S, Parano
E, Pavone L.
15: Comi AM, Zimmerman AW, Frye VH, Law PA, Peeden JN.
16: Connolly AM, Chez MG, Pestronk A, Arnold ST, Mehta S, Deuel
17: Gupta S.
18: Singh VK, Lin SX, Yang VC.
19: Gupta S, Aggarwal S, Rashanravan B, Lee T.
20: Plioplys AV.
21: Messahel S, Pheasant AE, Pall H, Ahmed-Choudhury J, Sungum-Paliwal
RS, Vostanis P.
22: Singh VK, Warren R, Averett R, Ghaziuddin M.
23: Warren RP, Odell JD, Warren WL, Burger RA, Maciulis A,
Daniels WW, Torres AR.
24: Singh VK, Singh EA, Warren RP.
25: van Gent T, Heijnen CJ, Treffers PD.
26: Gupta S, Aggarwal S, Heads C.
27: Warren RP, Odell JD, Warren WL, Burger RA, Maciulis A,
Daniels WW, Torres AR.
28: Singh VK.
29: Warren RP, Singh VK, Averett RE, Odell JD, Maciulis A,
Burger RA, Daniels WW, Warren WL.
30: Daniels WW, Warren RP, Odell JD, Maciulis A, Burger RA,
Warren WL, Torres AR.
31: Warren RP, Yonk J, Burger RW, Odell D, Warren WL.
32: Warren RP, Burger RA, Odell D, Torres AR, Warren WL.
33: Plioplys AV, Greaves A, Kazemi K, Silverman E.
34: Warren RP, Singh VK, Cole P, Odell JD, Pingree CB, Warren
WL, DeWitt CW, McCullough M.
35: Warren RP, Singh VK, Cole P, Odell JD, Pingree CB, Warren
WL, White E.
36: Yonk LJ, Warren RP, Burger RA, Cole P, Odell JD, Warren
WL, WhiteE, SinghVK.
37: Warren RP, Yonk LJ, Burger RA, Cole P, Odell JD, Warren
WL, White E, Singh VK.
38: Warren RP, Foster A, Margaretten NC.
39: Warren RP, Margaretten NC, Pace NC, Foster A.
40: Weizman A, Weizman R, Szekely GA, Wijsenbeek H, Livni E.
41: Stubbs EG, Crawford ML.
42: Stubbs EG.
The following link is to a site called Immunize North Carolina and features a section on North Carolina's vaccination rules and laws, school requirements, and the childhood vaccination schedule.
This is how the American Medical Association feels about your constitutional right to a religious exemption:
H-440.970 Religious Exemptions from Immunizations.
Since religious/philosophic exemptions from immunizations endanger not only the health of the unvaccinated individual, but also the health of those in his or her group and the community at large, the AMA (1) encourages state medical associations to seek removal of such exemptions in statutes requiring mandatory immunizations; (2) encourages physicians and state and local medical associations to work with public health officials to inform religious groups and others who object to immunizations of the benefits of vaccinations and the risk to their own health and that of the general public if they refuse to accept them; and (3) encourages state and local medical associations to work with public health officials to develop contingency plans for controlling outbreaks in exempt populations and to intensify efforts to achieve high immunization rates in communities where groups having religious exemptions from immunizations reside. (CSA Rep. B, A-87; Reaffirmed: Sunset Report, I-97)
From a Christian View Point
The Case Against Vaccines According to God's Word
(This link is provided for informational purposes only. A religious exemption does not have to be based on the Christian religion or any other mainstream religious practice.)
Military Vaccine Exemption Information