Lifewatch: Vaccines

NEW YORK -- Many states require certain vaccinations for your children, but some parents are trying to change that.

Some parents believe government-mandated immunizations are doing more harm than good.

In New York and most other states, unless you qualify medically, the only exemption offered for the shots is religious.  Which often means going through so-called sincerity testing by school attorneys.

"We were asked what vitamins we give our kids, what we serve at our kitchen table. What medicines we have in the cabinet - all kinds of things. We got off the God topic pretty early on," said Rita Palma who is fighting for religious exemption for her 3 sons, 2 years after being turned down.

Recently, Rita and her husbands and hundreds of other New York parents lobbied at the State Capitol for change.

"Some people have religious exemptions, some people have concerns with safety, some people would rather just make their own medical decisions. And we need to sort out what is the best methodology for the state moving forward," said Democrat Marc Alessi with the New York State Assembly.

Two other exemption bills are also being considered.

But, while the parents push for choice, the state health department is proposing more vaccinations, saying the only way to protect against disease is making sure all students are immunized.

This is a heated debate because many other parents and teachers say those shots protect far more kids than they hurt.

They say it's imperative that the state does what it can to protect kids from sickness and even death.

Reported by Kristy Ondo