As of Friday, 36 students at Asheville Waldork School had contracted chickenpox in an outbreak that’s ranking as North Carolina’s largest since the vaccine became available more than 20 years ago. And the mainstream media wants to make sure that you know that the vaccine (in this case religious) exemption rate at the private school is one of the highest in the state. (The only two North Carolina schools to top Asheville Waldorf’s religious exemption rate were private schools in other counties and both of them have a 100 percent exemption rate.)

“The viral infection manifests in an itchy rash in most cases and is not typically life-threatening” 1 and “Two to three out of every 1,000 children infected with chickenpox required care in a hospital.”2

I bet all those parents are glad their kids now have lifetime immunity to the disease. (And I bet the kids are glad to have some time at home!)

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According to the CDC, every year the chickenpox vaccine “…prevents more than 3.5 million cases of varicella, 9,000 hospitalizations and 100 deaths”3 but they don’t mention how many kids have vaccines side effects or how many children go on to have ongoing complications due to the vaccine, like the recent increase in shingles that’s been associated with the vaccine. And they never will.

But perhaps that is why the parents of 110 of Asheville Waldorf’s 152 students have opted out. And thank goodness we still have the right to opt out in most states.

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But it’s not just parents at the school, other Asheville residents agree. Amy Gordon’s children were vaccinated for polio and a couple other diseases in the late 80’s before the chickenpox vaccine was available, “What’s the big deal with chickenpox? There is no big deal. If I was a parent with a kid who wasn’t vaccinated, I’d want to send my kid to the Waldorf School to get chickenpox.” She went on to say that had the vaccine by available when her kids got their other shots, she wouldn’t have allowed it. We hear that from so many parents.

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