Vac­cine opt-outs pose health risks

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

The most frus­trat­ing thing for a par­ent is send­ing your child to school know­ing there is a flu epi­demic on hand. What can be worse than know­ing your child is at risk for dis­ease? Per­haps, know­ing that risk can be pre­vented. It has come to my at­ten­tion that cer­tain par­ents are in­creas­ingly choos­ing to opt out of get­ting their child vac­ci­nated.

Vac­cines can help pre­vent a par­tic­u­lar dis­ease. More than 39,000 chil­dren un­der the age of seven are not vac­ci­nated be­cause their par­ents have taken it upon them­selves to deny any im­mu­niza­tions avail­able. This is com­pletely out­ra­geous. I find it hard to un­der­stand why these par­ents fail to lis­ten to the ad­vice of all health care providers as if they think they know best.

These chil­dren are es­sen­tially be­ing pun­ished for the un­wise de­ci­sion of their naïve par­ents. Fur­ther­more, the neigh­bour­ing chil­dren in the com­mu­nity are now be­ing placed at a higher risk even if they are vac­ci­nated. When some refuse vac­ci­na­tions, im­mu­nity breaks down and ev­ery­one is more vul­ner­a­ble.

Vac­cine opt-outs put public health at risk. Re­fus­ing to get your child vac­ci­nated is a self­ish de­ci­sion. Vac­cines should be manda­tory, not op­tional. Per­son­ally, my sis­ter, at the age of 6, re­ceived a liver trans­plant. The anti-rejection med­i­ca­tion she takes now causes her im­mune sys­tem to be con­sid­er­ably low.

Any chil­dren with­out their vac­ci­na­tions are an ex­tremely big threat to her, life threat­en­ing to be ex­act. I urge par­ents to please con­sider your op­tions care­fully.

For any par­ent that has, or has con­sid­ered to, refuse vac­ci­na­tions for their child, take this into con­sid­er­a­tion, what if another par­ent did some­thing to en­dan­ger your child?

Vac­ci­na­tions save lives, so can you. Take a stand to be a part of a safer, bet­ter public health com­mu­nity. Mariah Wedge, UPEI Stu­dent

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