OPINION: Immunity in the Pack

Vaccinations ensure public health in a building where germs are prevalent

Staff Editorial

A parent’s job in this day and age is to do absolutely everything in their power to make sure their child stays safe and healthy. If there is a disease that could be prevented, a parent should go through every single step to do so. Vaccinations are the most productive way possible to accomplish this.

Vaccines are designed to ward off dangerous, and possibly even deadly, diseases by working alongside the human body’s natural defenses to assist it in developing an immunity to said diseases. Measles, mumps and whooping cough are all vaccine-preventable diseases but continue to infect children everywhere. These kids can end up hospitalized and sometimes even die due to these easily preventable diseases. 

According to information provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 7.75% of students in Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) are not up-to-date with their immunizations. In Monarch High School, approximately 5.41% of students are not vaccinated.

Picture a math class here at Monarch. This class may have thirty or so students. About two of those students in the math class are not up-to-date with their immunizations. The school’s enrollment is around 1,700 students. This suggests that 92 students here at Monarch are not vaccinated.

This may not seem like a lot, but it is.

In a place where a large amount of teenagers and young children are constantly exchanging germs, such as a school, it is vital that vaccinations are required. A lack of immunizations could be deadly to some students.

People who cannot be vaccinated because they suffer from immunocompromisation, a deficiency that weakens one’s immune system, or because they are undergoing chemotherapy, rely on the concept of herd immunity to prevent contraction of these diseases that are dangerous to everyone, but could be deadly to them.

Herd immunity is the idea that a high proportion, or majority, of a population is immune to a specific disease to resist the spread of it to the rest of the population. If every student, with the exception of those with immune disorders, at Monarch High School was up-to-date with their vaccinations, many illnesses would become almost obsolete. 

Parents are to blame for the lack of immunizations. Some are convinced that vaccines will do more harm than good.

This distrust of vaccines comes from a collection of fears. Some believe that certain vaccines, such as those for measles, mumps and rubella are directly linked to autism. This belief emerged in 1998 when Andrew Wakefield, a British researcher, published a paper in Lancet, a medical journal. This paper described quite a few instances where previously healthy and average children gained developmental disorders after receiving the mumps, measles and rubella, or MMR, vaccine. 

The researcher suggested that the vaccine was the cause of these disorders developing in children. The journal retracted the paper in 2010 and completely discredited the claim because the fact of the matter is, vaccines don’t cause autism. 

Although this was debunked, the fear still resides with parents for some reason. Due to this, outbreaks of diseases continue to occur. Vaccines won’t be successful unless the majority of our population gets these immunizations.

In BVSD, schools are beginning to require all students to provide documentation regarding their immunization status no later than November 22, 2019. This documentation could state that the student’s vaccinations are up-to-date, in process or that the student is exempt. Non-medical exemptions, either personal or religious beliefs, must be submitted to the school each year.

When a parent makes the decision to not take their child to the doctor to get their vaccines, the parent is not only putting their child in danger but is also endangering every other student at their kid’s school. If the child contracts a disease, the likelihood of them spreading it to their peers is overwhelmingly high.

In a world where germs run rampant, vaccinations are the most productive way to stay healthy. Vaccinations are proven to be safe and are highly encouraged by doctors who have the peoples’ best interest in mind.

Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated for your own well-being. Get vaccinated for the well-being of your peers. Just. Get. Vaccinated.