Tags: Health Topics | Vaccines | Health | Teachers | Schools | Parents

4 Teachers Who Say Parents Should Know Who Isn't Vaccinated

By    |   Wednesday, 25 Mar 2015 09:32 AM

Some parents want to know whose children aren't being vaccinated, particularly when disease outbreaks occur. Vaccines protect a community, but unvaccinated children increase the risk of spreading disease.

Medical confidentiality prevents the release of certain information on patients. There might be those who think parents should know, but teachers and administrators look for solutions to avoid conflict, such as tightening regulations for mandatory vaccines.

VOTE NOW: Should Parents Have the Freedom Not to Vaccinate Their Children?

These four educators offer their views on vaccines:

1. Strengthening vaccine requirements could reduce concerns about parents who don't vaccinate their children, according to Dr. Kristen A. Feemster, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

"Personal and religious belief exemptions should be curtailed because some people, whether because of age or compromised immune systems, cannot receive vaccines," she said. Children who can't receive vaccines for medical reasons are protected when more kids are vaccinated.

"Following traffic laws, drug tests at work, paying taxes — these may go against our beliefs and make us bristle, but we ascribe to them because without this shared responsibility, civil society doesn't work. Public health is no different."

2. Laws protect the privacy of patients, but parents can do their own research on the rise of preventable diseases because of the anti-vaccine movement, explained Dr. David M. Perry, associate professor of history at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. Perry agrees that requirements for children's vaccines provide "herd immunity" to protect children who can't medically receive them.

"We've seen a rapid increase of outbreaks in preventable diseases, such as pertussis (whooping cough), measles, and mumps in the U.S. and the U.K.," he wrote in a July 11, 2013 article for the Atlantic.

URGENT: Should the Government Be Allowed to Mandate Vaccinations?

3. State legislation becomes a remedy to balance personal choices and parents' wishes to know who hasn't been vaccinated, according to Dorit Reiss, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law.

Legislators need to reconsider personal exemptions based on beliefs, rather than medical reasons, when disease outbreaks affect entire communities.

The measles outbreak beginning in 2014 in California and other locations "is bringing home to us that we need to reconsider this balance. States can't afford to prefer the rights of the minority anymore," she told the Statesman Journal in Oregon.

4.
New Jersey has experienced an increase in religious exemptions since 2007. State lawmakers want stricter requirements so that only parents with genuine religious tenets are excused from vaccinating their children.

Some parents may abuse the religious exemption, said Dr. Drew Harris, chairman of the New Jersey Public Health Institute. State health officials should "ask people to be honest and ensure the honesty of their beliefs," he told the Asbury Park Press.

VOTE NOW: Should Vaccinations for Children Be the Parents' Decision?

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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Some parents want to know whose children aren't being vaccinated, particularly when disease outbreaks occur. Vaccines protect a community, but unvaccinated children increase the risk of spreading disease.
Vaccines, Health, Teachers, Schools, Parents
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2015-32-25
Wednesday, 25 Mar 2015 09:32 AM
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