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honnybear

Excemption from Vaccinations due to adverse recation possible? (split topic)

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really hoping others post to this...I am sick over this as 2 of my 3 children have had severe reactions to vaccines. One anaphylaxic to Hep B and another seizures for 18 months following DPT. We were told my son is high risk for permanent brain damage if we were to vaccinate him again and not to vaccinate the youngest considering the sibling history. Today the CS agrees but said INS will refuse us and that all medical exemptions she has had to do like chicken pox for an 8 month old patient for immigration are refused.

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***Post split from thread over 7.75 years old.***

**Moderator hat off**

INS hasn't existed since 2003. From what you have posted, you are likely dealing with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), one of the successor agencies.

Edited by Ryan H

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really hoping others post to this...I am sick over this as 2 of my 3 children have had severe reactions to vaccines. One anaphylaxic to Hep B and another seizures for 18 months following DPT. We were told my son is high risk for permanent brain damage if we were to vaccinate him again and not to vaccinate the youngest considering the sibling history. Today the CS agrees but said INS will refuse us and that all medical exemptions she has had to do like chicken pox for an 8 month old patient for immigration are refused.

USCIS (formerly BCIS, formerly INS) states that if the approved civil surgeon administering applicant's vaccinations decides that the vaccine is harmful because to the applicant, then the surgeon will include a note that the vaccine should not be administered.

This is different from a waiver, which is for moral and religious grounds. If an applicant refuses a vaccine, then the surgeon will include a note saying that the vaccine was not administered and that the applicant will seek a waiver.

So if I understand this correctly, and I'm not a doctor or an immigration expert, then if the civil surgeon agrees that your kids shouldn't take the vaccine, you should be fine. However, if the surgeon decides it's safe for them to take the vaccine, you'll have to apply for a waiver, which may or may not be approved.

Now that's how it's supposed to work, but the CS told you that his/her exemptions get denied.

Whether that'll be good enough for USCIS or not, all you can do is go to the civil surgeon, get the appropriate vaccines and get him/her to note the vaccines that he/she does not recommend. That's all you can do since you can't give the kids all the vaccines.

That's not a very satisfying answer, but there's not much you can do besides going to a second doctor who might have a better track record.

Here's what USCIS says about vaccines:

http://www.uscis.gov/news/questions-and-answers/vaccination-requirements

Q. Do I have to receive all the vaccines that are on CDC's list and that are age appropriate, although I may have a medical condition that prevents me from receiving the required vaccines?

A. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from receiving a vaccine that is appropriate for your age, the civil surgeon will annotate the Form I-693 accordingly and mark the vaccine as contraindicated. A contraindication is a condition that prevents you from receiving a particular vaccine. CDC lists in its Technical Instructions what is considered a contraindication. It is up to the civil surgeon to determine whether you have such a condition that prevents you from receiving a particular vaccine at the time of the immigration medical examination.

Q. I am pregnant and do not wish to receive any vaccinations. Do I still have to get them to be able to obtain permanent resident status in the United States?

A. If you are pregnant, the CDC's Technical Instructions direct the civil surgeon how to evaluate the vaccines you are able to receive during pregnancy. If the civil surgeon cannot safely administer a required vaccine, he/she will annotate the Form I-693 by marking the vaccine as contraindicated. See link to the right for information on pregnancy and vaccinations in general.


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For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

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update...The CS has been a nightmare. I asked her what she would recommend considering the history and what I have been told as mother. She would not vaccinate herself and sent us to our PCP. Our PCP "cant say yes and cant say no" because our original pediatric files were destroyed. I was treated like I was lying or looking for a vaccine exemption loophole bc nobody seemed to believe medical files could be destroyed. So I got a letter from the pediatrician stating that indeed according to Quebec, Canada law files can be destroyed after 5 years and their files have been destroyed. So docs only have my word and a picture of my son I have with his head wrapped during seizure time.

I asked the PCP what it would take to either vaccinate my kids or write a letter for the CS. She said she would consult with another ped and if he said No then she would write the letter. He said unlikely for my son but for my daughter that she should get me to sign a waiver to vaccinate her. PCP then wanted to give her ALL vaccines (9 vacs in 5 shots) at the same time.

Considering I was told their whole lives bc of family medical history not to give any this was extremely alarming to me. I myself got an MMR booster bc my titer showed not enough for mumps without question and did not need to sign a waiver so if PCP was so concerned about vaccinating my daughter then why not write a letter? And she changed her mind about supplying a letter for immigration. And then she said same for my son including the original vaccine that gave him seizures!!! bc we dont have the original vaccine history, only my word. This is insane! Applying for religious or moral waiver is not fitting bc that is not the case and would b lying.

So I went back to the CS and asked her what she recommends or what she would write on our file for USCIS. She replied that she would write what she could legally if I refused to vaccinate and that "Im a civil surgeon, NO ONE questions me". She outright refused to tell me what she was writing to USCIS on our files. This is bizarre to me as it is our file. I do not have another $1000 to go to a different CS.

So yesterday feeling defeated and disillusioned by the medical community I went and picked up the sealed forms. She did write that I am complete now but contraindicated boxes are ticked for both kids. She did not tick the box "may be granted a blanket waiver". And in the notes she wrote that mother "says" son had a seizure following DPT and refused all other vaccines and for my daughter that mother says brother had a reaction so mother refused all vaccines. She said see "notes" for both but I do not know what she wrote.

She returned the letters indicating their files were destroyed to support that my testimony is all we have to go on, no doctor records anymore so obviously did not include those. She did include the contraindication letter for each that we got in 2011 when we arrived here for school. But when we met her initially she wanted updated ones within 12 months which our PCP and the consulting ped would not provide. It seems to me bc now for immigration not just schoool.

I was advised not give my son any more vaccines and not to take the chance with his sibling. Docs agree but would not put it in writing for an updated letter now that it is for immigration. The CS seems to be suggesting that I am refusing to vaccinate with no mention that it was based on medical advice their whole lives up til immigration is almost offensive.

I realize this is an unusual situation but I dont know if I should just sent the I-693 in as is and see what USCIS does or write a brief letter to include to explain that I am not just refusing to vaccinate for no reason but based on medical advice their whole lives up to now. I have put a call in to an immunologist to consult but no time before sending in our AOS pkgs but hoping to have info or additional updated letter for interview if we get that far.

We did discuss it with our children (14 and 16) and my son has decided to return to Canada if docs force them to be vaccinated. My children are involved in doc appts. They have heard their whole lives that they are contraindicated. I feel like I am having to choose between my husband or my children to stay here. I never expected this to come up or happen.

Edited by honnybear

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Send the form as is.

I find it odd that for something so serious as death, you did not get your own records to show people in the future, knowing that Canada destroys records. Oh well.


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~~Moved to the Canada Forum, from General Immigration-Related Discussion~~ In hopes that someone more familiar with Quebec can give more insight.

Getting your medical records in Canada is not cheap or an easy process so I'm not surprised. Can you call the health Unit where you live(d) and see if they have any record of the reactions since they do keep track of vaccinations?


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Harpa, I was thinking that too - to just send it in as is. It just bothered me that she did not include the proof that there are no records.

Since I do not know what this lovely CS wrote in her private notes I was wondering if I could make it worse by adding a letter clarifying since she did write contraindicated even if she suggested I was just "one of those mothers" who refused vaccines.

I'll find out I guess when/if an RFE follows.

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StarMember - I tried through the general medical unit since Quebec was going digital for records in recent years but they do not have my kids. The adverse reaction was not reported either - that I know because at the time I was shocked it was not. But in Canada doctors have to put their name on the line to report it. Their careers can become very difficult. I found out when we moved here that in the U.S. parents can report.

It is truly unbelievable that they have a law allowing for destruction of records in Quebec. I find it hard to believe that all doctors do that even if they are allowed to.

I hadn't gotten copies of anything and even left the vaccine booklets with the ped because I thought having it all in one place with the doctor was best. Boggles my mind. I did learn a lesson and am starting our own medical records at home going forward.

Hopefully people moving think to get medical records. I never appreciated how critical it can be.

Edited by honnybear

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Just adding my experience in case it can be helpful at all.

My vaccination records were destroyed in BC since I was born before a certain year? Can't remember the exact year. I ended up having to get titers to prove my immunity.

I am on immune reducing medications for a health condition and as a result am not allowed to get live vaccinations (aka MMR etc). When I went for my medical, I brought along a letter from my doctor stating that I wasn't allowed to - and I didn't have the booster for MMR/ not fully immune to measles from my first shot as shown by titers. Thankfully the doctor at the medical (Dr. Cheema in BC) understood this information and easily checked off contraindicated and eligible for blanket waiver.

I haven't had any issues since due to my lack of that one vaccination.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with all this hassle :(


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GoldMember - somehow reassuring to hear of another Canadian with this problem of destroyed records. Good to hear you had a doctor for your medical who was supportive. My concern is that the civil surgeon did not tick the "may be eligible for a blanket waiver" and then referred them to her notes which we do not know what she wrote.

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All vaccines carry some risk of side effects, like pretty much everything medical related (read the back of something common place like an ibuprofen bottle ...). There are a lot of presumed risks and hype regarding vaccinations today. I would assume one of the main reasons why a CS won't recommend a blanket waiver is because many of the risks that people once whole-heatedly believed to be related to vaccines are now being refuted by science. And it was easy to just not vaccinate, because "who gets polio these days anyways". Now the fear of vaccines has now trumped the fear of the diseases that they once "eradicated" ...

Not undermining what happened to your child/children a decade ago and what you and your family had to endure, but I would def get a second opinion on this matter.

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