Friday, October 21, 2005

More Adventures in Bureaucracy Land

Idiotic Woman at County Health Services Office: Okay! We have your child scheduled for his mandatory vision and hearing test next week. Is there anything else I can do for you?

Me: Yes, I need to know where I can pick up a vaccination exemption form while I am there.

IW@CHSO: I'm sorry ma'am. We don't do that.

Me: I believe you do. I need the form or card which allows me to provide an exemption from vaccinations.

IW@CHSO: Oh! We don't do exemptions, but we do provide vaccination services and forms.

Me: Yes, I know that. That is why you will also have the exemption allowance form as well.

IW@CHSO: I'm sorry ma'am, we DON'T do that here.

Me: Georgia law allows for a medical and a religious exemption. I need the form which your office should provide for the school. Just like the eye/ear/dental exam I just scheduled with you.

IW@CHSO: You'll have to ask the school about that then.

Me: And they told me to ask YOU.

IW@CHSO: But ma'am, we don't do that.

Me: I understand that you personally are not aware of such a thing, but I need you to find out because I have been referred to you as the source of the form I need. You may need to ask around your office.

IW@CHSO: (pretty pissed at this point) Ma'am, we DON"T DO THAT!

Me: Well then, can you tell me who does?


Me: But you are the Department of Health who administers the state-wide vaccination program?

IW@CHSO: (defiantly) Yes, Ma'am.

Me: But you don't have the state mandated vaccination exemption form or any information on where I can get that?

IW@CHSO: No, Ma'am!

Me: Fine. I'll call around some more.

IW@CHSO: (click. No "have a nice day", "sorry I couldn't help you", "good luck", nothin!)

Can you imagine if I didn't know my state rights or have lots of information backing my decision not to vaccinate? How quickly would I just give in and get the freakin' poison injected into my son just because all other avenues were closed to me and the state is united in trying to make me look like some jerk off for not following all the other sheeple? Arggghhh!

* Edited to add: I did make some more calls to people who actually HAVE sent a child to school in Georgia without vaccinating and I found out that THERE IS NO FORM. So, the IW@CHSO was somewhat right, because, true true, her office doesn't DO that. But you'd at least think she could tell me: There is no form. You just write down on a piece of paper that you are not vaccinating due to X reason. That's it. Finito.

I'm not sure this lackadaisical approach is a good thing, because you can clearly see where it can lead to further confusion over the issue. You see, most states have a designated procedure which a parent can follow, rather than just be bounced from one under-informed bureaucrat to the next until they give up, prove they know what said bureaucrat does not, or set the office on fire. Georgia appears to operate under the "Stun Them With Our Stupidity" principle.

I'll tell you how it goes when I bring my little "manifesto" to Gabe's school. Bwah-hahahaha! Can you tell I'm just itchin' for a fight?


Kris said...

Yep. My mom just "informed" me the other day that public school require vaccinations, and that her client's friend homeschooled for that reason. And so I'd better keep that in mind.

I calmly told her that her client's friend is maybe blessed by being pushed into homeschooling, but she has rights in Iowa as well.

The fear that comes with ignorance is so scary.

Kris said...

But see, if they made it easy by telling you right off that there is no form, you might not succumb so easily to their brainwashing intimidation.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Mary! This is your cousin Wendy. Found you through Anna's blog. ;)
I chose not to get the "chicken pox" vac for Gloria and very easily was givin a form by my family doctor and had no problems with her preschool either. My doctor luckily supports my decision. That is so frustrating you have all these "invisible hoops" to jump through as you put it.

Mar said...

Hi Wendy!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wisconsin is one of the best states for easily allowing exemptions. Overall, they seem much better organized when it comes to these things. Sigh.

Oh well. It is 70 degrees in the winter here, so we've got that at least.

won't reveal said...

You could always take the cowards way out like me and just forge the vaccination form. They'll never know. There was a measles out break here about 5 years ago and only the vaccinated kids got it. (You know those vacs are at best only 80% effective)

Sarah said...

This is a scary predicament considering that many people who do not know any better would assume there is no other way around the situation other that to succumbing to vaccinating their children. Scary stuff. Until I educated my husband regarding our rights of whether or not we choose to vaccinate our child he was one of the many under the impression that it was necessary for children to be vaccinated in order to attend school or any school-like institute. Georgia seriously needs to get their stuff in gear and organize a better way for handling these exemptions! aye carumba. Oh, and by the way, thanks for the reference to that NYTimes article. Hadn't heard about that and it's only more confirmation of ... well, you know what! :-P