Students must receive vaccinations to protect their peers

Jordan Hall, Staff Writer

In 19 states, parents can elect not to have their children vaccinated for philosophical reasons. Louisiana is one of these states. These laws enable parents to avoid vaccinating their children before sending them to school, endangering any students who may not be able to get vaccinated. These exemption laws need to be repealed to avoid placing children in further danger.

For students with compromised immune systems, it is dangerous to get vaccinated, and they must rely on herd immunity. According to Vaccines Today, herd immunity is “a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity.”

The exemption law resulted from a rising movement of ‘anti-vaxxers,’ who most notably believe vaccines cause autism. The Measles-Mumps-Rubella, or MMR vaccine, is often blamed.

This belief stems from the contents of a medical study published in 1998. The study claimed a connection between the MMR vaccine and the development of autism.

According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention immunization guidelines, children should receive the MMR vaccine before their second birthday. This also happens to be the time when children begin showing signs of autism.

The causation of the MMR vaccine triggering autism has since been disproven many times over, and the study was retracted from the journal in which it was originally published. Andrew Wakefield, the doctor leading the study, was stripped of his medical license.

Regardless of these facts, angry parents continue to rally behind the study. As they do, vaccination rates fall and the American public experiences outbreaks that should not be possible.

Currently, an influenza outbreak is sweeping through the U.S. It is the worst outbreak in a decade, and flu season is not over yet.

Though the flu vaccine is not one often required by schools, it is highly encouraged as the flu spreads easily in classrooms. As of late January, 53 children have died of flu in the U.S. this year and almost 12,000 have been hospitalized.

Many people lay blame upon this year’s flu vaccine, claiming it is ineffective. Fox and Friends’ Brian Kilmeade went so far as to tell his viewers that not getting the flu shot was an opportunity to “build up their immunity.”

Getting the flu shot, or any other vaccine, is particularly important on a college campus where so many students live and work in close quarters. Members of the Tulane community must take the necessary measures to protect themselves and their classmates against flu and any other preventable diseases by getting vaccinated.

This is an opinion article and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Jordan is a freshman at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected].

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