Childhood Immunizations: The Moral Choice… Learning about Religious and Medical Exemptions

by Connie Newcome

The Immunize Kansas Coalition held a zoom meeting on November 14, 2023, which was open to the public.

They had a good attendance of about 80 people.

Several of the attendees were obviously not on the same page as the IKC.

The topic: Childhood Immunizations: The Moral Choice… Learning about Religious and Medical Exemptions

The three brightly enthusiastic panelists were: 

 Andrea May, MPH, Advanced Epidemiologist, Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE)

 Gretchen Homan, MD, FAAP, President of the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (KAAP) and Chair of the IKC Board from 2018-2019

 Rev. Dr. Annie Ricker, Board Chair of Kansas Interfaith Action (KIFA), Clergy United Methodist Church

The first panelist, Andrea May, is in charge of vaccine safety and vaccine equity. I am not sure what vaccine “equity” is, but it sounds politically correct. Maybe it means we need to be “equitably” vaccinated? And I certainly don’t know what vaccine safety is. Is there such a thing?

Dr. Homan helps in a “failure to thrive” clinic. She never addressed why children may have “failure to thrive.”

Dr. Annie Ricker, the clergywoman, is an enthusiastic supporter of vaccines because John Wesley was, and he was the founder of the Methodist church. Jesus would have taken every precaution so we should seek to protect our community and protect others by getting vaccinated. Dr. Ricker was “representing religious perspectives” stating that God gave us the vaccines to prevent the spread of illness… so we MUST use the gift…”

A chart was shown, which indicates that more people are exempting their children from vaccines. Perhaps this was one of the reasons for this “moral” discussion?

One of the big reasons to vaccinate is to protect those who are immune compromised, but cannot be vaccinated. There was no discussion on WHY they are immune compromised or why “safe” vaccines would be hard on those who are compromised. In answer to a question about what can the immune compromised do to protect themselves since they can’t be protected by vaccines, the answer was that those around them need to be vaccinated. They may have to occasionally recluse themselves from various situations for self-protection. There was no mention of using simple remedies such as Vitamin C or getting sunshine, plenty of rest, etc.

Religious and medical exemptions were explained. If someone has an allergy or a temporary situation, they may need to wait to get the vaccine. Usually, it can be given at a later date when some temporary crisis is over, such as cancer treatment. The doctor will employ “shared decision-making” with the patient in determining if the person needs a medical exemption. No response was made to a commenter who cannot get a medical exemption even though all her family members have vaccine injuries. Medical exemptions would need to be reviewed annually.

Religious exemptions depend heavily on the school board and if and how they accept them.

The state statute on vaccines was read which says “shall be deemed non-compliant” until vaccinated. That sounded kind of good to me. I will remain non-compliant until I am vaccinated. Can’t that be an exemption?

The panelists were exuberantly promoting the IKC booklet “Vaccine Fears Overturned by Facts.” Two previous anti-vaxxers, now safely within the “fold,”  feature their story in this booklet which has been given to all KS legislators.

Teens seem to faint more when vaccinated, so they need to be sitting or lying down when getting the poke. Some people seem to hang around after the poke just to make sure they don’t pass out or have a reaction. All reactions would normally be within the first few minutes. A sore arm just means it is working. (As opposed to recent information indicating this may be a sign of injury.)

We learned that today’s vaccines are clean, as opposed to the older models which apparently were not as “clean.” There was some opposition in the chat to that statement. 

All conversation with attendees was handled by the chat. One school nurse challenged the lack of facts from the IKC panelists, and a vaccine advocate asked her to let the “experts” do the talking! This courageous nurse suggested that if anyone needed more information they should check with Kansans for Health Freedom on their website as they have lots of factual information! That comment might have been under-appreciated by the experts!

Did IKC feel a bit ambushed by the pushback they got from several commenters? It is hard to say. The hour was soon up and sadly (smile), the panelists did not get that golden opportunity to respond to those who asked provocative questions. 

Here is one person’s response to the meeting, “I thought they conveniently avoided a few important questions, and it was a bit frustrating that they were bent on discrediting any fear or concern (or even just a presentation of a study or evidence) as not based in science and we just needed to be better educated.” 

It was a nerve-wracking conversation for those who have done the deep dive and know at least some truths about vaccines. The courageous nurse, who spent hours preparing to present facts, stated afterward,  “I am just shaking!” 

All in all, it was a spritely, yet dutiful panel discussion that had virtually no substance to it and a lot of fluff.  We need to join every time! 


  1. Even the CDC has abandoned the fiction that the flu vaccine will prevent a person from getting sick, but would instead lessen the severity of the illness if one did get sick. Very similar to the claims made during the COVID so-called pandemic when not even the vaccine manufacturers claimed that getting the jab would prevent people from contracting the disease or passing it on, isn’t it?

    Even the claims that the vaccines lessened the severity of illness are suspicious since no one can predict with any certainty how ill one would get in the event they do contract the disease. If no one can predict how sick you’ll get, how can anyone say the vaccine kept you from getting that sick? Better off casting the bones or reading tea leaves.

    The Immunize Kansas Coalition (IKC) itself is a suspicious organization. The disclaimer on their website claims that they are an independent 501(c)(3) organization, supported by the CDC which is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It further claims that the organization’s views are not representative of, nor an endorsement by, the CDC/HHS, the US Government, or the Kansas Governor’s Office.

    We can believe as much of that as our credulity will withstand, but does anyone actually believe that a front organization funded by the CDC would publish anything or publicly advocate any position that was contrary to the CDC’s agenda? That would be attacked as malinformation, wouldn’t it? Especially an organization that gets its mail at a mail stop in an office building a block from the state capitol.

    Just as early CDC claims that the COVID-19 vaccine would prevent people from getting sick and prevent the spread of the disease proved to be lies, whatever is in the booklet distributed to all Kansas legislators should also be dismissed as little more than CDC propaganda,

    • Absolutely. I printed out a copy of the booklet. It is ridiculous. The IKC is an arm of the KDHE and they use our money to propagate a one sided message ONLY. Thank you for a response. It is good to know this article was read! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *