Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Health costs are too high to ignore the importance of vaccines for children

On immunization, the public’s general health, and Scott Walker’s choice to do what’s right

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It’s important that every child get vaccinated. The health risks are far too great to ignore the medical necessity of prevention for your son or daughter.

It goes beyond that: the health of your child is of utmost important to you, but what about the health of the children your kid interacts with? Parents who are questioning immunizing their children need to consider the health of their own family, but they also need to empathize a little, to consider the health of other families that their choices may affect.

We’re currently in the midst of an outbreak of measles across the country. At present, more than 100 cases of measles have been reported in 14 states. Officials at the CDC expect more cases to be reported in the coming days.

Measles is no laughing matter. More than a quarter of children who got the disease in the last decade had to be hospitalized. Measles can lead to lifelong brain damage, deafness, or even death, according to the CDC.

During the last decade the median number of measles cases was about 60 per year. That changed in 2011, when 222 cases were reported. Of those cases, 40 percent were under the age of 4, when measles can be especially damaging.

What has lead to this rise in measles? Paranoia. The unwarranted fears of immunization, dredged up by conspiracy theorists that vaccinations cause more harm than good.

We’re now seeing the effects of that line of thinking: kids without immunizations are getting sick. What’s more, they’re getting other kids sick too.

Potential candidate for president Chris Christie is in favor of supporting parental rights when it came to vaccinations, saying that parents “need to have some measure of choice” when it comes to the health decisions of their children.

At some level, he’s right: parents have a right to act foolishly, to believe the hype that erroneously casts doubts on vaccinations. But when rights are exercised in ways that affect the health of others, they cease being rights, and are deserving of regulation.

Parents who do not vaccinate their children should not be allowed to send their kids to public schools. It’s that simple. The risk is too high to allow the actions of foolhardy parents to dictate the lives of responsible families.

Another potential candidate for president, Scott Walker, has been rather mum when it comes to the “rights” of parents to not vaccinate. Not much is known about Walker and his opinion on immunization, but he does do the right thing when it comes to promoting vaccines.
Expecting a baby soon? If so, don’t be surprised...to find a card from “Governor and Mrs. Walker” in your mailbox shortly after the little one arrives.

Five months after the birth of her second son, a cute-as-can-be Hallmark card arrived at her home, with a congratulatory message and a reminder on the importance of early childhood immunizations.
Emphases added.

Gov. Walker doesn’t receive my gratitude for a lot of things. But for promoting the vaccination of children across the state, he deserves positive recognition.

A broken clock is right twice a day, I suppose.

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