The importance of Enforcing and Upholding Public School Vaccination Requirements

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Childhood immunizations arean effective tool in limiting the occurrence of outbreaks and epidemics to the general population via schools. Throughout the 20th century, many communicable diseases like measles, mumps, and small pox have been eliminated while diseases like polio now exist endemically in fewer than 5 countries in the world.

 

Despite the evidence gathered over the past century demonstrating both the safety and efficacy of vaccines, there has been a growing movement against childhood immunizations rooted in unfounded claims of adverse outcomes.  The danger in not vaccinating the population, in this case school aged children, is the loss of herd immunity.  If too few people are immune to a pathogen, the unvaccinated are many times more likely to contract an illness.  Herd immunity works because meeting a certain immunization threshold protects the unvaccinated from the disease.

Working against vaccinations are some groups claiming that there exists a link between febrile seizures and immunizations, though there has been no scientifically rigorous demonstration of this outcome.  Some organizations claim that receiving multiple vaccinations at once harms children and is part of a conspiracy between doctors and drug companies despite evidence to the contrary.  And most worrisome is the assertion that there is a bone fide link between vaccinations and autism despite multiple  peer reviewed articles disproving this.

Reducing the spread of preventable, communicable diseases is an ongoing crisis in the developing world, and it should not be a problem of the developed world.  As a society, we must advocate for the administration of all school aged children and public health workers to be vaccinated unless there is a valid health contraindication for to prevent infectious disease epidemics and pandemics.

 

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One Response to “The importance of Enforcing and Upholding Public School Vaccination Requirements”

  1. puertoricozika Says:

    Thanks for your important post. Vaccination decisions have become a difficult process for some parents, and it is sometimes a very emotional decision for all the reasons that you have stated . Parents usually accept advice from trusted sources, such as family doctor or a government agency, but information is not enough to convince them to agree with the vaccination recommendations. Connolly et al present a concept that has the potential to assist with the decision on vaccination. They propose a hierarchy of decision aids using the CREDIBLE criteria (Competent developers,Recent, Evidence based,
    Devoid of conflicts, Balanced presentation of options, benefits, harms, Efficacious) that could be presented online, in blogs or videos , providing “step by step advice giving to full scale decision analysis, either self driven or chauffeur assisted”.
    I am curious to get your feedback on what are your plans for your advocacy program.

    1. Connolly, T, Reb, J. Toward interactive, Internet-based decision aid for vaccination decisions: Better information alone is not enough. 2012, Vaccine, 30 (25): 3813-3818.

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