This school year it is vitally important that parents consider amending the required medical portion of the school district's consent form. In a number of states around the country, school districts, in cooperation with the federal government, are preparing to use schools as clinics to administer flu shots, including the new vaccine for H1N1. The way that most of these forms are written would give permission to the school district to vaccinate your child even though they don't specifically spell out "vaccines" or "vaccinations" in the document.
For example, in my child's school district the current Emergency Information and Medical Information form is written:
"I hereby authorize the principal or his/her designee, into whose care the aforementioned minor pupil has been entrusted to consent to any X-ray, examination, anesthetic, medical or surgical diagnosis, treatment, and/or hospital care to be rendered to said minor upon the advice of any licensed physician and/or dentist.
I understand that this authorization is given in advance of any required diagnosis, treatment, or hospital care and provides authority and power to the aforementioned agent(s) to give specific consent to any such diagnosis, treatment, or hospital care which a licensed physician or dentist may deem necessary."
Many parents are concerned about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, and by coupling the general health and welfare of our children with a consent form allowing a school district to administer vaccines is not something to consider lightly. Please check "[ ] I do not consent to medical care for my child. I release the school/district from liability," or some other such wording, unless you truly understand the risks involved with vaccinations.
For more information about vaccines, see www.vaclib.org and www.thinktwice.com