Nine-year-old Ameer Hamideh has been kicked out of the CHC Learning Center in Buffalo, New York because he does not have all the vaccines mandated by the state of New York for children his age. Ameer, who has cerebral palsy and also suffers from a rare seizure disorder called Lennox Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), cannot get vaccinated because the vaccines would aggravate his seizures and possibly kill him.1 2
Ameer’s father, Ali Hamideh, told a local TV station that, “He was vaccinated the first couple years of his life. After the vaccines, started getting seizures. His body couldn’t tolerate it. It would make it a lot worse, chance of hospitalization, even a chance of death.” He added, “He’s obviously disabled, but he’s very smart..being out of school, he’s very hurt.”1
Mr. Hamideh filed for a medical exemption to vaccination for his son written by neurologist Sarah Finnegan, MD, who had determined that Ameer’s health could be compromised further if he was given more vaccines. Dr. Finnegan granted the medical vaccine exemption to Ameer on Aug. 6 2019.1
On Sept. 12, 2019, the New York Department of Health rejected the medical exemption for Ameer. In a letter to the Frontier Central School District, Elizabeth Rausch-Phung, MD, MPH, the director of the Bureau of Immunization, wrote:
I have reviewed the documentation submitted by Sarah Finnegan, MD with regard to the medical exemption for the student in your school with a birth date of 5/28/2010. Lennox Gastaut with refractory seizures is not a valid contraindication to the student receiving MMR, varicella, polio, or Tdap vaccines pursuant to Public Health Law (PHL) 2164 and the accompanying regulations at 10 NYCRR Subpart 66-1. Therefore, I recommend against accepting this medical exemption.
The information provided does not support that immunizing this student with MMR, varicella, polio, or Tdap at this time may be detrimental to this student’s health. If any additional documentation should become available, please forward for my review.
For more information on contraindication and precautions to vaccination please see the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization: Contraindications and Precautions online at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/general-recs/contraindications.html.1
When asked about the rejection of Ameer’s medical exemption, Richard Hughes, who is the superintendent of Frontier Central School District, Richard Hughes, said: “The New York State Department of Health is the one that recommends to either deny the request or approve the request. If they recommend it to be denied, we’re saying recommend it to be denied. It would be foolish of us to go against the recommendation of the New York State Department of Health.”1
Mr. Hamideh does not think it is right that his son’s rights should be taken away, “especially being disabled and everything.”2
Ameer is currently being homeschooled.1