Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Include Vaccinations in Your Back-to-School Checklist: Medical Professionals Say That the Risk of Contracting a Vaccine Preventable Disease Is Infinitely Higher Than the Likelihood of a Vaccine-Related Adverse Reaction

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Include Vaccinations in Your Back-to-School Checklist: Medical Professionals Say That the Risk of Contracting a Vaccine Preventable Disease Is Infinitely Higher Than the Likelihood of a Vaccine-Related Adverse Reaction

Article excerpt

At the beginning of last school year, many California parents had an additional item to check off before their children attended the first day of class: vaccinations. In a sweeping victory for public health officials, and to the disappointment of many parents, a new mandatory vaccination requirement was made for California students: no shots, no school.

Parents are no longer able to cite religious or personal beliefs as a qualification for opting out of mandatory vaccination schedules. On average, about 80,000 students in California utilize the personal belief exception each year, but now, without a valid medical condition such as allergies or immune system deficiencies, a parent will have to choose between adhering to the new law, homeschooling, or leaving the state.

The California mandate was spurred after a 2015 Disneyland incident. During this time, thousands of people vacationed at Disneyland enjoying Splash Mountain, Mickey Mouse's house, and the jungle cruise. Yet over 40 people left with more than just the magic of Disneyland, they came home with a dreaded case of measles. By April, the disease had spread to 17 states and the District of Columbia, leaving at least 188 people fighting off symptoms including dangerously high fevers, widespread itchy rashes, potential reproductive harm, and the characteristic white spots inside the mouth.

So how did this outbreak occur? Scientist say that for a community to be protected from certain infectious diseases, there is threshold of 96 percent of the population that needs to be vaccinated. This is called herd immunity. When less than this percent of the population is vaccinated, viruses are able to make their way into the community and spread from person to person. A California State Department of Health's survey suggests that only 91 percent of children in California had obtained the measles vaccine prior to the outbreak.

Why are parents opting out? Many parents fear the negative effects that can occur from vaccinations and while they are incredibly rare, they are possible. After getting a vaccine, a child may experience redness, itchiness, or swelling at the site of the injection or even a fever, headache, or fatigue while the body builds immunity. This will typically go away in a few days, but the severity can extend beyond the short term. For certain vaccines, about one in a million are at risk of deafness, permanent brain damage and long term seizures, coma, and lowered consciousness.

While these side effects can worry parents, it is important to remember that vaccines are tested for safety. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.