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

4 Teachers Who Say Parents Shouldn't Have to Worry About Privacy of Vaccine Decisions

By    |   Wednesday, 25 Mar 2015 09:50 AM

The controversy surrounding privacy decisions puts teachers and school administrators in a difficult position regarding vaccines. State laws usually prohibit the sharing of medically confidential information.

Teachers use the information they have to deal with parents who don’t want to vaccinate their children and those who oppose those decisions. Schools encourage vaccinations, but follow guidelines and laws set down by their states.

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

These four teachers offer views on a calm approach to balancing personal choices and public health:

1. Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children could pose harm to their own kids and younger children not yet vaccinated, but they should be respected for their opinions, according to David Ropeik, an instructor at the Harvard Extension School. Demonizing them or calling them irrational only intensifies the conflict and arguments about vaccines. This leads to closed minds and stiffened views instead of making parents informed about the value of vaccines.

Those parents who are concerned about the chemicals in vaccines are "only doing what good parents are supposed to do: keep their kids healthy and safe," Ropeik wrote. Vaccine decisions, like other judgments, are based on facts and emotions. Denying their rights is counterproductive and interferes with information or education.

2. Maple Village Waldorf, a private elementary school in Long Beach, California, has no policy on vaccination. Lisa McCarthy, dean of education, gets details on students' medical histories, but families are not pressured to vaccinate their children.

"I feel like it's a really personal topic, and I'd almost put it in the category of religion or politics," she told Mother Jones. The school alerts parents when children need vaccinations, but doesn't tell them what to do. McCarthy also noticed that parents on both sides are staying away from discussions about the vaccine issue.

URGENT: Should the Government Be Allowed to Mandate Vaccinations?

3. Parents at Berkeley Rose, a California elementary school, have been encouraged to get their children vaccinated, especially with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine for kindergarteners, according to Leah Redwood, an administrator.

Redwood was disturbed by social media posts that made "defamatory" comments about the school after a report on its low vaccination rate. One post named a family that allegedly had an unvaccinated child. Redwood questioned the health department's figures on the vaccinations, and pointed out many parents are vaccinating their kids on delayed schedules, which could skew the statistics.

4. Some states, such as California, Oregon and Washington, are attempting to limit personal, non-medical exemptions for vaccinations, which may have contributed to a rise in measles outbreaks.

Dorit Reiss, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law, noted that rights come into play in three areas. Parents have a right to make medical decisions about their children, children in general have rights to protection from disease, and states have interests in promoting public health.

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

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

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The controversy surrounding privacy decisions puts teachers and school administrators in a difficult position regarding vaccines. State laws usually prohibit the sharing of medically confidential information.
Vaccines, Teachers, Health, Parents, Privacy
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2015-50-25
Wednesday, 25 Mar 2015 09:50 AM
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