Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blog 4: Opting Out of Immunization in Washington

Washington State is now making the decision to opt out of vaccines for children much more difficult. Now a doctor’s note is required providing substantiate evidence as to why this decision is being made. One of the main reasons for this stricter policy is due to a statistic provided back in 2008. The percentage of parents with children in kindergarten who opted out of receiving vaccines had doubled in that decade alone to a 7.6%. With the addition of this policy, the rate of parents opting out of immunizations has decreased almost a quarter. The scare is that parents who choose to opt of out vaccinations tend to live in a closer proximity to each other increasing the risk of catching a disease and then spreading it. Measles is the disease health care professionals are worried about the most considering it has reappeared over the years. Parents are claiming that since diseases such as polio and measles have virtually disappeared over time, there isn’t necessarily a reason to jump at the idea of getting their children vaccinated. Changing this state of mind in parents has proven to be difficult.

Globally this is problem because it increases the risk of spreading disease somewhere else. Children go on vacation with their families to various exotic locations for weeks at a time. They risk either bringing disease over there and infecting those inhabitants, or even worse bringing something back to the United States and potentially causing an epidemic. It is important to recognize that the parents have a right to say no, but the line needs to be drawn when the well-being of human life is put at risk. Unable to consent, children are forced to listen to their parents assuming they are doing what is in their best interest as children. Vaccines have been studied for quite some time now and show no incredibly dangerous risk, so although some explanation has been provided; the reasons for opting out still remain rather vague. The simple fact of the matter is that vaccines do more good than they do harm. The population is a product of this theory. There has not been any major population diminishing deaths since vaccinations came into play. People are living longer and healthier lives due to the use of vaccines. The fact of the matter is that opting out could result in far worse damage to a child who experienced a negative reaction to a vaccination. That is a risk that no parent should be willing to take.

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