WSAZ | Charleston, West Virginia | News

Parents Rally to Change Vaccine Law in W.Va.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Outside the West Virginia Capitol Wednesday, the matter of required vaccinations was a hot topic, but many parents say they're upset at the lack of discussion inside.

Dozens of parents rallied to change the law about vaccinations to attend school.

Whether it's a religious belief or even a medical condition, many children cannot get the vaccines required to attend public or private school.

Six-year-old Thaddaeus Ford suffers from many allergies. At just 4 months old, he had a startling reaction.

“His health was devastated,” his mother, Michelle Ford said. “His skin, for two years, was blistered bleeding and burned. He saw eight doctors in his first year of life.”

His doctors determined he can't receive any vaccinations that contain certain ingredients.

Those vaccines are required for him to attend public or private school.

State law does allow medical exemptions, but Thaddaeus and many other children are still denied.

“She then had to move to Ohio so that he could go to public school,” Melissa Curry said about her friend and her son, who also can’t be vaccinated.

Curry already has a plan in place in case her son ends up in the same situation.

“We can move to Ohio and claim a religious or philosophical exemption, or we might just home school as many are forced to do in West Virginia,” Curry said.

West Virginia is one of only two states not allowing exemptions for beliefs.

Whether it's that or a medical condition, parents are speaking out.

Senate Bill 50 would solve the problem, but it’s at a standstill in the Senate Education Committee.

“There are people in these offices, in these halls, who refuse to help us,” Ford said.

Senate Education Chair Sen. Robert Plymale declined to comment on the bill.

The same bill is pending in the House Health and Human Resources Committee.


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