VACCINATIONS: A PARENTAL OR GOVERNMENTAL OBLIGATION?

The Epitaph Issue 5

Published: March 5, 2015

By Shauli Bar-On 

Analyzing why the government should demand vaccinations

Vaccinations for the most dangerous diseases, including influenza, hepatitis and polio, are required as a prerequisite to enter United States public schools.

The term ‘required’ is used loosely.

As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, 19 states, California included, allow parents to waive vaccinations based on the personal belief exemption. If, however, an outbreak occurs, unvaccinated California children will be asked to leave the school until the disease is under control.
This policy is flawed.

Even if unvaccinated children are asked to leave school, they will still come into contact with several people. The most recent example of an unnecessary epidemic is the measles outbreak, which spun out of control in Dec. 2014.

This outbreak did not begin in schools, but rather at Disneyland, a Southern California amusement park where travelers from all over the world visit.

All travelers visiting the park who were not vaccinated had an immense chance of becoming infected, and many in fact were. According to Pediatrics.com, 58 out of the 91 recent measles cases in California are linked to Disneyland, and all those infected were unvaccinated.

Mississippi and West Virginia are the only two states that require all residents be vaccinated against the most infectious diseases. The only exemptions allowed in these states are medical safety ones.

California should follow the footsteps of these states and require all residents to become vaccinated against the list of diseases public schools have created.

The measles outbreak example can be used once more to show how unvaccinated people can cause an epidemic.

According to Fox News’ science analysts, all unvaccinated persons have a 99 percent chance of becoming infected by measles if the disease is present in the air.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the first dose of the measles vaccination is 95 percent effective and the second dose covers very close to 100 percent of the remaining five percent.

AboutHealth reports that the 2011 European measles outbreak consisted of 30,000 cases. Eighty-two percent of these victims were unvaccinated and 13 percent only had one vaccine dose. These statistics clearly show the danger unvaccinated persons present in cases of epidemics.

Many citizens are against government intervention and claim the government cannot force-vaccinate those who do not wish to be vaccinated. Others say each individual has the right to decide whether or not they protect themselves.

Medical outbreaks endanger the health of everyone who comes in contact with the disease, and while the government’s role in the lives of the individual is subjective, the government certainly has the right to ensure the health of the majority.

Even if individuals wish to put themselves in danger, the government can make laws to stop this endangerment.

For example, in California, it is against the law not to wear a seatbelt when riding in a car. This law is put in place to protect the people. If I choose not to wear a seatbelt, I am only hurting myself. The government, however, does have the right to force me to wear a seatbelt.

Furthermore, vaccinations are not in place only to protect those getting the shot. When one chooses not to get vaccinated, one puts ALL children under 12 months of age in danger.

Since most vaccines are given after a child’s first birthday, infants are exposed to all diseases in the air. In addition to exposing themselves to the disease, unvaccinated adults also put unvaccinated infants in danger.

With all that being said, according to the San Jose Mercury News, Mississippi and West Virginia are the only states that allow one exception to not getting vaccinated – the medical safety exemption.

California, Oregon and Washington are all in the process of drafting a legislative bill to target those who opt out of getting vaccinated. This bill would eliminate religious and personal exemptions and require everyone to get vaccinated for protection against the world’s most dangerous diseases.

This bill should be passed, and even if it does not, all parents should choose to vaccinate their children, save lives and live longer.

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