Some background — there are lots of diseases out there that can kill — and western medicine has developed vaccinations for many of them. Vaccinations work in a variety of ways, and one of them is to give the person a mild case of the disease so that the body builds up immunity to that disease… i.e. so you don’t get a full case of it later…
Some people cannot be vaccinated — they are either too young for it to work (usually under 12 months) or they have a compromised immune system and introducing the virus in any form would harm them. These folks have been able to live relatively normal lives because the diseases that would have killed them aren’t a concern… until — somehow folks decided to opt out of vaccinations. Also, vaccinations don’t always “take” in an individual — and there is no way to know if they work or not until someone gets sick.
I’ll tell you, I’ve read the articles advocating not vaccinating– most of them are very poorly reasoned, employing enough logical fallacies that they’d qualify for a logical fallacy exercise in a logic class. I have yet to read an MD or a professional medical researcher with an PhD endorsing the idea that kids shouldn’t be vaccinated — it’s mostly self-proclaimed “experts” in holistic medicine saying vaccines are bad for kids.
Here’s the deal — their analysis all relies on conjecture and a very small risk of harm to the kid — as in, parents take more risks to their kids’ well-being every day in what the kids eat, play with, the way the parents drive and a jillion other things — all of which pose a larger threat to their kids than vaccinations.
On the other hand, one unvaccinated kid could get very sick and die — and before they die, they can infect many others…. others who didn’t have a choice about not being vaccinated — because, for those people, vaccinations ARE a risk. In a society where the maximum number of people possible are vaccinated, the chances of any given disease spreading are very small and when it does spread, it doesn’t get very far — so it’s unlikely that any one person who cannot be vaccinated will get it.
SOOO — now that not vaccinating your kids is getting trendy, and measles was spread at Disneyland, some folks are saying that unvaccinated kids without medical reasons for not being vaccinated ought not be permitted in school — and that seems right to me.
Parents are exercising their right to choose not to have a medical procedure for their kids. I fully support that right to choose, BUT — just because you have a right to choose to do or not do something does not mean you can then avoid the implications of that choice…. and, in this case, the implications of the choice are not limited to the family making the choice. In effect, the parents who choose not to vaccinate are making a choice for others, and as a result I think it’s fair NOT to permit their kids to go to school.
I also think that IF/when a domestic outbreak can be traced back to an original non-vaccinated by choice person, that person (and likely their parents) ought to be financially and legally responsible for the implications of their choice — including being responsible for medical bills, time lost from work / school as well as pain and suffering damages. IF the person who brought the disease into the country could not be vaccinated, the first voluntarily non-vaccinated person to catch it should pay… period.
Life and medical ethics is all about choices and consequences, in this case the person making the choice can and should be liable for the consequences. I’m guessing that one lawsuit against a non-vaxxer parent would revers the trendy decision not to vaccinate.