A Birmingham [Michigan] mother is furious after her sixth-grade son was sent home from class today because he's not fully vaccinated against chickenpox.
One of Michael Donovan's classmates is among three students in Birmingham Public Schools who is infected.
"I wasn't vaccinated, and I don't think it's fair that I can't go to school," Michael, 11, said after his mother, Sarah, was called to the school to pick him up.
Donovan said her two children were partially vaccinated, but she grew concerned when Michael's older sister, Jane, then a toddler, began exhibiting signs of autism.
She stressed that she's not against vaccinations but against requiring them.
Though health professionals and researchers have said links between autism and vaccines have been repeatedly discredited, Donovan and other parents believe the damaging side effects of vaccines are not fully known and often downplayed.
Donovan also says the policy violates federal privacy laws, because other children and parents know that children who are not at school during this period have not been vaccinated.From CDC:
"I don't like this bullying. I'm going to push back somewhat. I'm not a media person — I'm not. I like privacy. But I think it's important for people to know the other side.
"It's not right. It's truly bullying. My son is being singled out and we're made to feel like were bad parents because we've decided not to vaccinate anymore."
Chickenpox, she noted, is usually not a serious disease. Only in rare cases does it have deadly complications.
"They're saying it's some deadly disease but, hello, we all had it," she said.
Chickenpox (varicella) used to be very common in the United States before the chickenpox vaccine became available in 1995. In the early 1990s, an average of 4 million people got chickenpox, 10,500 to 13,000 were hospitalized (range, 8,000 to 18,000), and 100 to 150 died each year. Most of the severe complications and deaths from chickenpox occurred in people who were previously healthy. Each year, more than 3.5 million cases of varicella, 9,000 hospitalizations, and 100 deaths are prevented by varicella vaccination in the United State