Unvaccinated Students Banned From Schools By Board: A Blow For Anti-Vaxxers?

Starting today, March 3, over 100 unvaccinated students will be banned from Rochester, Minnesota schools. These students must be able to prove that they have been vaccinated or provide legal proof that they are exempted from the state law requiring immunizations.


The Star Tribune in Minnesota reported that this news is not a surprise to the unvaccinated students banned. The paper has explained that officials from the public schools have been working with the affected students since January. They believe ample time has been given, considering the school year is now going into its seventh month.

Heather Nessler, the spokeswoman for the Rochester Public Schools explained that if any of the students do come to school today, they will be removed from class and ushered into the principle’s office. From there, the school administrators will contact the parents in order to resolve this non-compliance. Nessler further explained what the unvaccinated students must do to be able to return back to the classroom.

“We’ll just keep working to make sure that either they visit Public Health or one of the clinics in town to fill out the proper forms.”

There is an out for those anti-vaxxer parents who do not wish to vaccinate their children. Minnesota is one of 18 states that allows vaccine exemptions for “conscientiously held beliefs” whether personal or philosophical. In order to go this route, parents must present the school with a notarized statement.


The other reason that unvaccinated students may not be required to take vaccines is for medical reasons. They would need to present proof of this to the school administration before the child could return to school.

Minnesota’s third largest city, Rochester is 85 miles southeast of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The population of 112,000 people is home to the Mayo Clinic as well as a huge IBM facility.

The Mayo Clinic is world famous for its innovative medical research and treatment. It may even appear contradictory that so many students are unvaccinated when some of the greatest medical minds live in the exact same community. Although the Mayo Clinic has not made any public statements regarding this measure in their main facility’s community, their website is very clear about their support of vaccinations.

On their site, one of the questions is whether natural immunity is better than a vaccination. The response is that while natural immunity may be better, it is not without risks.

“A natural infection might provide better immunity than vaccination — but there are serious risks. For example, a natural chickenpox (varicella) infection could lead to pneumonia. A natural polio infection could cause permanent paralysis. A natural mumps infection could lead to deafness. A natural Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) infection could result in permanent brain damage. Vaccination can help prevent these diseases and their potentially serious complications.”

One of the biggest reasons that parents are choosing not to vaccinate is because of the myth that vaccines cause autism. The Mayo Clinic site explains that the original study stating that vaccinations cause autism has been retracted and insist that there is no medical proof that vaccines cause autism.

“Vaccines do not cause autism. Despite much controversy on the topic, researchers haven’t found a connection between autism and childhood vaccines. In fact, the original study that ignited the debate years ago has been retracted.”

Nonetheless, keeping unvaccinated children from school is a very serious matter and the Rochester officials are well aware of this.

“Preventing a student from enrolling in school is a serious issue. The district wanted to make sure it gave families ample opportunity to bring themselves into compliance before it prevented any students from attending school.”

Do you think that the school’s measures were too extreme? Do you think that they should enforce vaccinating students? Please share your thoughts and concerns below.

[Featured Image by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]