The Truth About the Meningococcal (MenACWY) Vaccine and Your Child

Last week in the Idaho House Health and Welfare Committee, after much debate and controversy, an administrative rule was passed by a 7-6 vote to mandate 12th-grade high school students receive the Meningococcal vaccine.

This rule is not required to be heard or debated by the entire body of the Idaho House or Senate and doesn’t need to be approved by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. The rule only needs to be approved by one committee from the legislative branch.

The rule will then be presented in an omnibus bill with thousands of other administrative changes made by the executive branch’s bureaucratic agencies. The vote will be at the end of session (typically sometime in March) and will be an ALL-OR-NOTHING, YES-OR-NO vote.

Many citizens are distraught with the decision to mandate another vaccine with serious side effects for 30,000 Idaho 12th graders when an average of only three people contracted the disease in Idaho yearly. Some people are naturally asking questions on how this happened and what can be done to stop it.

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This rule could have been stopped earlier.

Citizens of Idaho have the ability to influence the unelected bureaucrats that write rules and should have provided comments or requested public hearings to the Health and Welfare Department last summer. This is a prime example of why I spend so much time encouraging people to comment on proposed rules and regulations, yet this process is still ignored by the majority of citizens. This is the easiest way to stop a rule. Pressure and testimony from citizens is critical in reining in overzealous bureaucrats and special interest lobbyists who tend to heavily influence those writing rules and regulations.

Rules are released monthly throughout the spring, summer, and fall. To understand this process better, visit Citizens who sign up for my newsletter will get a monthly summary of the proposed rules trying to slip through the process unnoticed. Remember, this process is how common core, common core science, and the transgender birth certificate sex change on a legal document were slipped through our state.

Did the Idaho Health and Welfare Department or the Board of Health and Welfare act outside of their boundaries?

The Board of Health & Welfare is different than the Department of Health and Welfare. The Board of Health and Welfare helps guide the Department to promote and protect the public health and well-being of Idaho citizens. It is a rulemaking and advisory body that can adopt, amend, or repeal rules and standards of the Department. Executive and administrative powers of the Department belong solely to the Director of the Department.

The Board’s seven citizen members are appointed by the Governor, each representing one of seven geographic regions of the state. They are the voting members of the Board. The Board also includes the Department Director, a representative from the Governor’s office, and the chairs of the germane committees for the State Health and Welfare committees.

To simplify, these are unelected bureaucrats who wrote the rule to mandate the vaccination, and according to law, that is within the authority the legislature has given them.

Idaho law states that “any immunizations required and the manner and frequency of their administration, shall be as prescribed by the State Board of Health and Welfare. This Board, in cooperation with the State Board of Education and the Idaho School Boards Association, shall promulgate appropriate rules for the enforcement of the required immunization program and specify reporting requirements of schools.”

So, what can we do now?

Here are some possible solutions:

  • Introduce legislation that requires written disclosure of the immunization exemptions provided in Idaho Code 39-4802 in every publication or rule regarding immunization requirements by government entities.
  • Attempt to remove the authority of the Board of Health and Welfare’s ability to “determine immunizations required and the manner and frequency of their administration shall be as prescribed” as the law currently allows. This authority was granted by the legislature in the past to cede their authority to make decisions over to an unelected board. It can be rescinded by another legislative action.
  • The Senate could schedule a hearing to review the rule in committee and reject it, but public pressure is needed to force the House Health and Welfare Committee Chairman to re-consider the rule and put it on the agenda again in the House. (A rule only has to be approved by one body but must be rejected by both).
  • Some are suggesting a lawsuit. Rules need to be written under “statutory authority” which means a rule must fit into the current statute. The statute which the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) is using to justify their rule is 39-4801*. That statute places an immunization requirement on “any child in Idaho of school age” who attends a public, private or parochial school. The language the IDHW is using in their new rule is any “student”. Although this is a technical question, it may be enough for a parent of an 18-year-old “student” to challenge. It may also be enough reason for the Idaho Legislature to “re-visit” the rule. That appears difficult because the chairman and vice chairman are two of the four Republicans who voted with the Democrats in casting the deciding votes to pass this rule.
  • Moving forward the Idaho Legislature could rein in any out-of-control State agency or Department if they decide they are acting outside their purview.

Is there a way to exempt your high school senior?

What the law simply says is that any child of school age who wants to attend school, needs to provide an immunization record upon admission, unless they are exempt from the vaccinations. A minor student can be exempt if they provide a note from the doctor or a signed statement from a parent or guardian. There are two ways you can exempt your child from this vaccine:

  1. You can visit your doctor and ask to be exempted, but don’t be surprised if he won’t. The doctor has to be licensed by the State Board of Medicine and willing to say that the physical condition of the child is such that all or any of the required immunizations would endanger the life or health of the child being exempted**.
  2. Another option is to ask for an exemption based on religious reasons or other objections.
  3. There is also the option of pulling your children out of government schools.
  4. If your child entering 12th grade is eighteen (18) years of age or older upon entry to the 12 grade, then the current governing superior law, Idaho Code 39-4801, does not require your adult child to receive the MenACWY vaccine. Even though the new administrative rule by use of the new term “student” seems to suggest they are required to receive it. You and your adult child could assert your legal rights under the Idaho statutes and refuse the vaccine, if you desire.

Take a moment and reflect on who cares most about what gets injected into our children’s bodies in the name of health or for the “good of society”? Is it the politicians whose campaign coffers are fat with health care provider/pharmaceutical dollars? Is it the removed-from-public-scrutiny bureaucrats who are paid by your tax dollars to regulate and rule every aspect of your life? Is it the school administrators who interact with your students more hours in the week than parents? Or is it YOU, the parent? Parents, please get involved! Bottom-up government is the only way to preserve our republic form of government. Public apathy is the biggest disease in American government, but no one is pushing a vaccine for that. Please consider sharing this information with other parents or concerned citizens who may want to protect or exempt their child.


39-4801. Immunization required. Except as provided in section 39-4802, Idaho Code, any child in Idaho of school age may attend grades preschool and kindergarten through twelve (12) of any public, private or parochial school operating in this state if otherwise eligible, provided that upon admission, the parent or guardian shall provide an immunization record to the school authorities regarding the child’s immunity to certain childhood diseases. This record, signed by a physician or his representative or another licensed health care professional, shall verify that such child has received, or is in the process of receiving immunizations as specified by the state board of health and welfare, or can effectively demonstrate, through verification in a form approved by the department of health and welfare, immunity gained through prior contraction of the disease.

Immunizations required and the manner and frequency of their administration shall be as prescribed by the state board of health and welfare and shall conform to recognized standard medical practices in the state. The state board of health and welfare, in cooperation with the state board of education and the Idaho school boards association, shall promulgate appropriate rules for the enforcement of the required immunization program and specify reporting requirements of schools, pursuant to the provisions of chapter 52, title 67, Idaho Code.

** 39-4802. Exemptions. (1) Any minor child whose parent or guardian has submitted to school officials a certificate signed by a physician licensed by the state board of medicine stating that the physical condition of the child is such that all or any of the required immunizations would endanger the life or health of the child shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter. (2) Any minor child whose parent or guardian has submitted a signed statement to school officials stating their objections on religious or other grounds shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter.

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