Tags: child | leukemia | vaccinated | father

Dad Asks School to Keep Unvaccinated Children Out

By    |   Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 06:51 PM

The California father of a 6-year-old boy suffering from leukemia and its attendant weakening of the immune system from chemotherapy wants to ban kids from Marin County schools who have not been vaccinated.

Carl Krawitt of Corte Madera, California, lives in an area where a high percentage of parents claiming "personal belief exemption" have opted to not have their children vaccinated, putting Krawitt's son, Rhett, at an increased risk of contracting communicable diseases, The New York Times reports.

"I respect people’s choices about what to do with their kids, but if someone’s kid gets sick and gets my kid sick, too, that’s a problem," Krawitt told the Times.

Roughly 7 percent of the kids in Rhett's school, Reed Elementary, are unvaccinated, a high percentage but lower than some other schools in Marin County where half of the children remain unvaccinated, Dr. Matt Willis, county health officer, told the Times.

In recent years, after a since-retracted study in The Lancet purported to find a link between vaccinations and an increase in cases of autism, many parents have opted out of vaccinations, especially after celebrities, including actress Jenny McCarthy, began campaigning against them, KQED reports.

Of particular concern was thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines, but several scientific studies have found no connection between thimerasol and autism, KQED notes.
Last year, a Centers for Disease Control study found that there were 644 cases of measles reported from 27 states, the largest since 2000.

Measles vaccination became commonplace in 1963. Prior to that, 3 million to 4 million Americans per year contracted the disease each year and 400-500 died from it, the Times reports.

In 2010, KQED reports, the highest number of whooping cough cases since 1947 in California were reported and ten babies died.

A recent outbreak of measles at Disneyland resulted in 95 cases, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

While measles had been reported to be eradicated in 2000, new cases have been found in Utah, Washington, Oregon and Colorado, the Times reports.

"It's very emotional for me," Krawitt told National Public Radio (NPR). "If you choose not to immunize your own child and your own child dies because they get measles, OK, that's your responsibility. That's your choice. But if your child gets sick and gets my child sick and my child dies, then your action has harmed my child."

Krawitt emailed county school superintendent Steven Herzog, asking that the county "require immunization as a condition of attendance, with the only exception being those who cannot medically be vaccinated," and Herzog replied, "We are monitoring the situation closely and will take whatever actions necessary to ensure the safety of our students," NPR reported.

Willis told the Times, "I obviously have to balance the responsibility to control communicable disease with everybody’s right to freedom."

In 2012, California passed a law requiring parents claiming a "personal belief exemption" to discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with a healthcare professional, but leaving children unvaccinated remains legal in the state, KQED reports.

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The California father of a 6-year-old boy suffering from leukemia and its attendant weakening of the immune system from chemotherapy wants to ban kids from Marin County schools who have not been vaccinated.
child, leukemia, vaccinated, father
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2015-51-29
Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 06:51 PM
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