Vac­ci­nate your chil­dren

Pro­tect them and oth­ers from pre­ventable dis­eases

Tulsa World - - Opinion -

An in­creas­ing num­ber of par­ents are opt­ing out of the state's im­mu­niza­tion re­quire­ments, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey by the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol.

Na­tion­ally and lo­cally, the vac­ci­na­tion ex­emp­tion rate is on the rise. Ok­la­homa's rate of full vac­ci­na­tion for school chil­dren lags be­hind the na­tional aver­age and be­low the goal of herd im­mu­nity, the ideal as­sur­ance that one un­vac­ci­nated in­di­vid­ual will be pro­tected if sur­rounded by those who have been im­mu­nized.

More than 90 per­cent of chil­dren in Ok­la­homa en­ter pub­lic schools with up-to­date im­mu­niza­tions, but that isn't good enough.

State law re­quires school chil­dren to be in­oc­u­lated for a range of pre­ventable dis­eases, but pro­vides three ex­emp­tions: med­i­cal, re­li­gious and per­sonal.

We don't have any prob­lem with ex­empt­ing chil­dren whose par­ents have le­git­i­mate re­li­gious is­sues with vac­ci­na­tion, and no one should want to force a vac­cine on a child who would be gen­uinely en­dan­gered by it. But our state's “per­sonal” ex­emp­tion is so broad as to make the re­quire­ment mean­ing­less. It has be­come a hid­ing place for the com­pla­cent and junk sci­ence ad­vo­cates.

The Leg­is­la­ture should elim­i­nate or sharply de­fine the per­sonal ex­emp­tion, but given the re­cent po­lit­i­cal ham­mer­ing re­ceived by vac­cine ad­vo­cate Sen. Ervin Yen, a physi­cian, in this sum­mer's GOP pri­mary, it's un­likely we'll see much po­lit­i­cal courage on that is­sue at the Capi­tol soon.

That means we'll have to rely on par­ents to act re­spon­si­bly. Par­ents should have their chil­dren vac­ci­nated to pro­tect their chil­dren's lives and the lives of those who can­not get im­mune pro­tec­tion from vac­ci­na­tions.

Thanks to vac­ci­na­tion, mod­ern Amer­ica has been largely free of the once rou­tine scourges of an ear­lier day: measles, mumps and diph­the­ria. Small­pox has been elim­i­nated as a threat. Po­lio nearly has been elim­i­nated. Th­ese are tri­umphs of sci­ence; but, sadly, that has bred com­pla­cency and ig­no­rance of the con­se­quences of self­ish­ness.

Vac­ci­nate your chil­dren for their own good and for that of fel­low Ok­la­homans.

Vac­ci­nate your chil­dren for their own good and that of your fel­low Ok­la­homans.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.