Vaccinate your children
Protect them and others from preventable diseases
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.