Regarding my post yesterday about vaccinations, Jeff Fishback e-mails:

I agree with your premise, to vaccinate all who are possible.

Please look to the State of Mississippi for validation. Mississippi had the WORST test scores of school students, in the entire nation. Governor Haley Barbour, a staunch Republican, got bipartisan support to improve the test scores. It was discovered that many school days were missed due to student absence, often to chicken pox, flu, and other childhood diseases.

Mississippi enacted the most severe immunization law in the entire nation. A child could not attend any school without a complete health record. No exceptions for choice, religion, or family finances. The only way a child opted out of the program was for a physician deferral for health reasons.

School attendance went up, immediately. Test scores at every level went up, immediately.

Cost to the state of Mississippi was almost nothing.

Jeff is right. Mississippi and West Virginia are the only states that don’t allow parents to claim exemptions for philosophical or religious reasons — your kid must be vaccinated unless there’s a medical reason not to. If only we could get the other 48 states to follow suit.