There is an outbreak of Mumps in Franklin county. Even though it isn’t known what led to the outbreak, the event started up discussion on the need to vaccinate. A friend of mine posted a story about the rates of vaccination in the county and I learned that there is a religious exemption to the requirement for childhood vaccinations. This bit of religious privilege makes me angry. I think that if parents decide not to vaccinate their children for non-medical reasons, those children should be registered with the state, like sex offenders are, so we can avoid those children and excluded them from public activities if an outbreak flares up.
A Dispatch analysis found that most newly-enrolled children in Ohio public schools — 89.4 percent as of the start of the 2012-13 school year — are fully vaccinated, but protection against disease varies depending on where they live.
Students are allowed to skip vaccines if their parents oppose them for religious or philosophical reasons. Vaccine opposition has grown in recent years, and by last school year, 4,181 children statewide (1.5 percent of new enrollees) were exempted for nonmedical reasons. A decade earlier, less than half a percent of new students (1,239) had parents with objections.
I consider putting children at risk by refusing to get them vaccinated to be as bad as child abuse. Refusing to vaccinate your children because some cousin’s cousin’s daughter got sick or may have autism is a terrible reason not to protect your children and the community.
Much like driving drunk, not getting vaccinated is rolling the dice and it will do far more harm to other people. If we all lived in isolated vacuum packed worlds and had no contact with other people I might agree it could be a choice but why would you do that to your child, put them at risk like that? Why should they be punished because you refuse to accept the science of immunization.
There is FAR more science that supports vaccinations. There are many studies that show the harm to children is overblown and doesn’t support making vaccinations a personal option.
Let’s look at the results of the polio vaccine:
Soon after Salk’s vaccine was licensed in 1955 children’s vaccination campaigns were launched. In the U.S, following a mass immunization campaign promoted by the March of Dimes, the annual number of polio cases fell from 35,000 in 1953 to 5,600 by 1957. By 1961 only 161 cases were recorded in the United States.
Polio has been eradicated in most of the world and the negative reactions to the vaccine is infinitesimal compared to the billions who are protected from what use to be a common and vicious disease.
When I was in middle school, I was threatened with expulsion until I had my mumps shot. I think we need to go back to that method.
The non-medical exemptions need to be removed. Public health should always trump religious privilege.
Until the exemptions are removed, if a parent uses such an exemption, then the child should have to register with the authorities so the public knows who to avoid and so the child can be excluded from public activities, like school, when an outbreak occurs.
That is the only way the public can be protected from the dangerous stupidity of not getting vaccinated.