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Dad Asks School To Bar Children Without Vaccines To Protect His Son


The Short of It

Carl Krawitt has gone through every parent's nightmare, watching his now 6-year-old son, Rhett, fight leukemia for the past 4 1/2 years. Rhett has endured round after round of chemotherapy. He's finally in remission. But now, measles threatens his life.

The Lowdown

Rhett can't be vaccinated because he's immunocompromised from the chemotherapy. His immune system is still rebuilding. It could be months before his body is healthy enough to get his immunizations. Until then, Rhett depends on herd immunity to protect him.

Unfortunately, Rhett lives in Marin County, Calif., which has the highest rate of "personal belief exemptions" in the entire San Francisco Bay Area. The personal belief exemption allows parents to legally send their children to school without receiving their vaccines against communicable diseases, like measles, polio, whooping cough and others.

Carl Krawitt is taking action on his own to protect his son, who attends a school with a 7 percent personal belief exemption rate. Previously, Krawitt worked with the school nurse to make sure that all the children in Rhett's class had all their vaccines. Now, he and his wife, Jodi, are requesting that the district "require immunization as a condition of attendance, with the only exception being those who cannot medically be vaccinated."

The Upshot

Superintendent Steven Herzog responded to the Krawitts' request with: "We are monitoring the situation closely and will take whatever actions necessary to ensure the safety of our students."

Some California schools have asked unvaccinated students to stay home after cases of measles were confirmed in their communities, but Marin County health officer Matt Willis said he has to look into the legalities of creating such an order before disease cases are confirmed. Generally, such requests are made by county health officials, not school districts.

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