vaccineCall me ignorant or an alarmist, but I'm terrified of childhood vaccines. My children have received all of theirs, but it doesn't mean that each one hasn't caused me sleepless nights and heart palpitations.
After countless hours of reading and research, I came to my shaky conclusion that the risks of vaccinating are less than those of not vaccinating, but I'm far from staunch in my beliefs about this. The fact is that each one feels like a terrifying leap of faith. Countless other parents, however, aren't willing to make such a leap, and they choose not to vaccinate their children. Good for them; I absolutely understand and support their decisions. They're their children, their choice.
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With that choice, however, come potential consequences, one of which may be their non-vaccinated children being banned from school. And as difficult and frustrating as it may be for anti-vaxxers, that's a legitimate part of the choice they make -- and it should be.
It happens regularly across the country when diseases like whooping cough or Measles break out. And every time it does, tempers flare and studies are thrown about showing that non-vaccinated children are and are not a risk in schools.
The fact that there is a potential risk to vaccinated students is enough in my book to support such bans. And really the parents of the unvaccinated children should understand this better than anyone.
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They don't want anyone to force what they consider a risky health situation on them and their family via vaccinations, and they shouldn't force other families to be put in what they consider a risk situation either -- sitting next to an non-vaccinated child in an enclosed classroom. The rest of the world aside, we all know how quickly germs and the like travel through schools, and the risk is there. There are children and adults who for numerous reasons, such as allergies, can't get immunizations; and sometimes vaccinations aren't as effective as they should be. Those people shouldn't be put at risk because others just don't want to vaccinate.
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The decision to vaccinate or not vaccinate a child is one of the toughest many parents make, and it's one I believe each parent should be allowed to make. But if schools determine a ban of non-vaccinated students is the best way to ensure the safety and well being of the majority of students, then the parents of non-vaccinated children must accept that as part of their decision as tough as it may be.
What are your thoughts on schools banning non-vaccnated children? Take our poll, here.
Image via Army Medicine/Flickr