Do Amish vaccinate their children?

Amish undergo immunization at a lower rate than the general public

amish vaccinationVaccinations have recently been a contentious topic in the general public, due to controversial associations made between immunization and autism.  Vaccinations have not been as widely accepted by Amish, for a number of reasons, including uncertainty over safety.

Amish vaccinate at a lower rate due to:

  • Lack of understanding of benefits-some Amish may simply see no benefit in this preventative measure
  • Distrust over safety-some may view immunization as putting themselves at risk through exposure to a disease or fear that a vaccination may cause an illness
  • Religious grounds-some Amish may see immunization as putting faith in man over God

Lack of understanding of benefits

Amish may fail to see the purpose of vaccination.  Hurst and McConnell note that Amish “underutilize immunization”, and may reason that “many of their parents and grandparents did not get immunizations and suffered few, if any, health problems as a consequence” (An Amish Paradox, Hurst and McConnell, p228).  Gertrude Enders Huntington states that “In health matters, the Amish are pragmatists.  When approached with facts by individuals whom they trust and when immunization is easy to obtain, most Amish are willing to be immunized” (“Health Issues”, Huntington, The Amish and the State p185).

Huntington notes that knowledge of Amish culture on the part of medical professionals help increase Amish immunization rates.  When the somewhat abstract benefits of immunization are explained in the right manner by the right individuals, Amish are more likely to comply.

amish child immunization
Vaccination rates are low among conservative Amish

Hurst and McConnell state that immunization can be especially low among conservative groups, with only 6% of Swartzentruber Amish participating, compared to 63% of the overall Amish population and 85% of the non-Amish population, according to a 1984 study (Paradox, Hurst/McConnell).

Some Amish may react positively when they consider that their lack of immunization can negatively affect others, by serving to help spread disease.  Such was the case when a polio outbreak occurred in an Amish community in 1979.  After initially resisting immunization, Amish chose to be vaccinated after one church member argued for the safety of the non-Amish community (Amish Society, Hostetler p 324).

Distrust over safety

Amish may harbor fears over the safety of immunizations.  Huntington describes numerous concerns of Amish over vaccinations, including fears over brain damage, crib death, the introduction of poisons into one’s body, or fear of catching the disease one is seeking to prevent.   Huntington also notes the presence of anti-immunization articles and books in Amish communities.  Like some in the general public, certain Amish may connect vaccines with autism, another factor discouraging participation rates.

Huntington notes that again, trust in the care provider, and clearly explained information can help increase compliance rates.  Convenience and cost are also factors (“Health Issues”, Huntington, p 186-7).

Religious objections

Finally, some Amish may object to vaccinations on religious grounds, though Huntington states that this is a less likely objection than concerns over safety.  She notes that Amish who acquire religious exemptions for vaccinations may cite Romans 12:2, “Be not conformed to this world”, as one justification for abstaining.  Amish may argue that putting faith in immunizations is like placing faith in man above God, and that vaccination is akin to participating in insurance programs, which Amish typically oppose (“Health Issues”, Huntington, p 186).

For more information, see:

“Health Issues”, Gertrude Enders Huntington, The Amish and the State

An Amish Paradox: Diversity and Change in the World’s Largest Amish Community, Charles E. Hurst and David L. McConnell

Amish Society, John A. Hostetler, esp. Ch. 15 “Health and Healing”

Amish Online Encyclopedia: Do Amish visit doctors?

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    1. Hanna

      This article might seem nice but it’s not remotely true. I’m from rural Pennsylvnaia with huge Amish community nearby. My mom worked with the USDA for a while and she said the Amish have some of the worst code violations because they use tons and tons of chemicals in their food production. Nothing they do is “natural” or “organic” in terms of what goes into their food (they’re inspected for the food they produce, package and sell). Also there is no record keeping of autism in the Amish community. They don’t go to modern doctors so their children don’t get diagnosed. That said, though they avoid doctors for most ailments, many of their children DO get vaccinated.
      Also, as was mentioned above in the comments, they shop at Walmart and modern grocery stores. They often live without electricity in their homes (not true in their factory style farms), so preserved junk food is really common.
      They DO lead simplier lives, and seem very much at peace and happy. However, they don’t live any longer, and sometimes shorter lives, because of the hard labor and lack of medical care

      1. ??

        Hanna, I’m not sure what you mean by your first line about this article being “not remotely true”. The gist of the article here is that Amish do vaccinate but not at the same rate the general public does, for a number of reasons, and is supported by a number of sources.

        Your comment is interesting but seems to be about a variety of topics, many of which are not addressed here. Is it possible your comment was intended for a different article?

    2. Vaccinations...

      Although Im not 100% Anti-vaccination like many of the Amish, and for some of the same reasons of the Amish, I dont think babies should be vaccinated and I REALLY dont think they should be getting the mega-doses the CDC pushes, especially as infants.

      I believe that if you want to vaccinated your children early, that is your own business, but if you DONT wish to subject their fragile little bodies with mercury & other poisons early on, you shouldnt be guilted or bullied into it. Personally, I think THAT is criminal.

      The CDC and drug companies know that vaccines have caused Autism and other medical problems including deafness. (I know from personal experience both cases, several times over).
      Popular “information” claims that its not so but it is. Legally you can not sue a drug company for these calamities however there are funds available from the drug manufacturers to “help” families that have been ill affected by them if you can prove the decline took place after an immunization.

      If immunizations work so great, then why do people who have had their children immunized (and the CDC) fear that ill children who havent had the shots will affect them? Dont those immunizations keep them from getting the illness? Just like the flu shot keeps us all from getting the flu.. right?

    3. Amish Conscientious Objectors

      I’ve worked with Plain People in three states, setting up natural health clinics so, in part, they could get health services without vaxx pressure, as they feared “offering their children to Moloch” — risking vaccine adverse reactions.

    4. Lisa

      Vaccination is not without risks

      I agree with KimH-“I believe that if you want to vaccinate your children early, that is your own business”. I also believe that if vaccines work, then those who get them should be protected. Right? Here is a bit more food for thought regarding vaccines and possible links to Autism.

      You Won’t Guess Why U.S. Autism Prevalence Is Now 1 In 45
      Forbes-Nov 13, 2015


      Febrile Seizures Following Childhood Vaccinations, Including Influenza Vaccination

      Febrile seizures are convulsions that occur in a child who is between six months and six years of age and has a temperature greater than 100.4º F (38º C). The majority of febrile seizures occur in children between 12 and 18 months of age.

      Febrile seizures can occur with infections or after immunizations that cause fever.


      PubMed-JAMA Pediatrics- Dec 2013

      Effect of age on the risk of Fever and seizures following immunization with measles-containing vaccines in children.

      The first dose of live attenuated measles-containing vaccines is associated with an increased risk of febrile seizures 7 to 10 days following immunization among 12- to 23-month-old children. The combination measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccine is associated with a 2-fold increased risk of febrile seizures 7 to 10 days following immunization compared with the separately administered measles, mumps, and rubella and varicella vaccines. It is unknown whether the magnitude of these increased risks depends on age at immunization.


      PubMed-Canadian Medical Association Journal-Aug 2014

      Risk of febrile seizures after first dose of measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccine: a population-based cohort study.

      RESULTS: The risk of seizures 7 to 10 days after vaccination was twice as high with MMRV as with MMR+V (relative risk [RR] 1.99, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.30-3.05).

      AUTISM Q & A:

      Q. How common are seizures among people with autism (and what can help)?

      A. Seizures are indeed more common in both children and adults on the autism spectrum. Independently, autism and epilepsy (seizures of unknown cause), each occur in around 1 percent of the general population. But epilepsy rates among those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), range from 20 to 40 percent, with the highest rates among those most severely impaired by autism. Conversely, about 5 percent of children who develop epilepsy in childhood go on to develop autism.”…m-and-what-can-help/

      Google: “Although autism is hard to diagnose before 24 months, symptoms often surface between 12 and 18 months. If signs are detected by 18 months of age, intensive treatment may help to rewire the brain and reverse the symptoms.”

    5. Lisa

      ASIA”-Autoimmune (auto-inflammatory) Syndrome

      It is the duty of one’s doctor to provide informed consent before asking a patient to submit themselves (or their children) to any medical procedure. This information has not been out very long. Please be informed! Thanks!

      “ASIA”-Autoimmune (auto-inflammatory) Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants or Vaccine Injury with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia
      January 19, 2015

      ASIA syndrome was first introduced in 2011 by researchers Y. Schoenfeld and N. Agmon-Levin in the Journal of Autoimmunity. In their research, they studied the interactions among vaccines, adjuvants and immune diseases. Adjuvants are used to increase the immune reaction to the compound that you are being vaccinated against. It is intended to be helpful by enhancing and potentiating the immune system response to the vaccine. This is like adding a little lighter fluid to the gas grill you are about to light with a match. The researchers saw that four conditions: siliconosis (complication from silicone containing implants), the Gulf War Syndrome, macrophagic myofasciitis syndrome (MMF), and post-vaccination phenomena were linked to previous exposures to an adjuvant found in vaccines.

      The primary adjuvant used in vaccines for over 70 years is alum, which is a mixture of aluminum salts. According to the CDC, the adjuvant aluminum is used in US childhood vaccines that prevent hepatitis A and B, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTaP, Tdap), Haeomophilus influenzae type B (HiB), human papillomavirus (HPV) and the pneumococcus infection. Up until 2009, it was the only adjuvant used in the United States. Scientists are now working on other types of adjuvants to use with vaccines.

      ASIA, CFS and FM

      The December 2014 journal Immunological Research contained a study by the same researchers who first published on ASIA. The title was “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia following immunization with the hepatitis B vaccine: another angle of the ‘autoimmune (auto-inflammatory) syndrome induced by adjuvants’ (ASIA).” The researchers analyzed the medical records of 19 patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and/or fibromyalgia (FM). All patients were immunized with the hepatitis B (Hep B) vaccination during the years 1990-2008 in the US. No patients had CFS or FM prior to the Hep B vaccination.

      The study stated that “all patients fulfilled the ASIA criteria.” This means that all individuals experienced inflammation that triggered immune injury from the vaccination and aluminum salts and then developed CFS or FM after the Hep B shots.

      The onset of symptoms of CFS or FM took anywhere from days to a year after the last vaccination. Forty-two percent of the patients took the full series of Hep B shots despite experiencing adverse effects while taking the shots. Participants experienced multiple symptoms, including neurological, musculoskeletal, cognitive difficulties, memory loss, fatigue, GI, and skin problems……

    6. Lisa

      Cleveland Clinic doctor under fire for anti-vaccinations blog where he linked shots to autism and cancer

      Dr. Daniel Neides, MD, MBA is the Medical Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. He has a 5 star rating for patient satisfaction as well as a three month wait to get an appointment.

      He wrote an article this past week about wellness in 2017 that included his personal (experience) opinion about vaccines.

      This angered his employer. Now they want to discipline him for speaking out (unfavorably) about a medicine that has been ruled to be ‘Unavoidably Unsafe’ by the Supreme Court.

      Informed consent: “permission granted in the knowledge of the possible consequences, typically that which is given by a patient to a doctor for treatment with full knowledge of the possible risks and benefits.’

      Should the CCF muffle the opinion of a well respected medical professional who seeks to properly inform consumers/patients?

    7. KLC

      Not Convinced of Validity

      I’m not really convinced on the validity of this article. The web site makes one think that it is an out reach from the actual community, but the writer is obviously not Amish. Not to mention that the Amish are not likely to use the internet. Also, the article reads biased. I have a hard time believing anything that is written with obvious and scathing bias. So, anyone who actually believes a word of this is also not to be trusted. There is a complete lack of evidence based information.

    8. laz

      Propaganda Big Pharma piece. Vaccines have not been show to be any more effective than not getting the vaccine at all.

    9. Chezron

      Thank you for not vaccinating

      At last, a population that is making intelligent decisions, and not vaccinating. You are truly healthy.

    10. It’s interesting that you point out that vaccines can help immunize people against diseases. I want to make sure that my son stays safe from diseases, so I’m considering taking him to a pediatrician to get vaccinated this month. I’m going to look for a reputable pediatrician in my area that does child vaccinations.

    11. Stephanie Berkey

      Stop Medical Discrimination

      America’s Front Line Doctors with Dr. Simone Gold are fighting for medical freedom, one way is with a petition to discourage CEO’s of businesses from requiring medical conformity with vaccinations (like they have masks).

      You can sign this petition at

    12. Gernot VielKind MD

      Vaccines destroy natural immunity

      I’m 78, graduated as M.D. in Austria,
      have treated my patients for 50 years, delivered children, used natural medicine where possible, and have seen much deterioration in their health thru vaccine, especially in children, whose immune system is developing all their life especially until puberty, and this natural development is severely hampered by unnaturally “boosting” our God-given gifts!
      Antibiotics, operations -all is ok- but the Power of Life should not be hindered! “g.vielkind(at)”

    13. BS

      Should have expected this in the comments section. Anyway,

      Yes, vaccines have a low chance of inducing fevers and thus an even lower chance of febrile seizures (~0.003%) but these cause no permanent harm or lasting effects.

      Concluding that because fevers can cause seizures, and because autism can cause seizures, that therefore vaccines cause autism is an asinine confusion of cause and effect.

      There has never been a credible link between any vaccine and autism. The fraud of Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 paper was exposed not by a government, big pharma, or other doctors but by a Sunday Times reporter.

      Mercury in a vaccine is not the kind in a thermometer. It is bound up in a compound and being afraid of it is like equating chlorine gas with salt. You will get more of a slightly more concerning mercury compound eating fish.

      Saying vaccinated persons shouldn’t care because they’re already protected misses the point. The motivation for getting as many people vaccinated as possible is to protect those that cannot get it and to minimize the number of breakthrough cases and mutations. Vaccinated people are trying to protect unvaccinated people as well as themselves, but advocates against vaccination are actively working to harm themselves, anyone that will listen to them, and even those that do receive a vaccine. Period.

      1. Ian

        We all have Questions

        Have you or do you receive any remuneration from any drug source?

    14. If Vaccination is Safe, Why The Spike With Cancer in Children

      If you really, truly research then you will find answers that will change what you thought was “just the right thing to do because of what we are taught and told.” Medical research is always necessary and needed because of the uprising of new diagnoses and ailments. With that said, more and more doctors are questioning why the rise of cancers in children. With those who wish to debate this, tell me why is it that cancer in children have risen to 43% from 1975-2018 while more vaccines were added in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s for children? Do you think it’s just a coincidence? I honestly think if one is truly interested in finding truth and answers to these “coincidences” rather than just going with what had been taught to us, then you will try seeking it for yourself. And what you will find is this: all doctors that have questioned vaccines because of their many years in medical practice and seeing the uprising in many ailments since vaccines, have lost their license to practice. Tell me why is that? These doctors have no agenda to gain money from this. But big Pharma does. The Pharmaceutical industry are the biggest drug dealers and have the same agenda as the Cartel; to get rid of those that have the potential of disrupting their money flow. The only difference is they are the exception. We are all naive if we don’t believe this to be true.