Jessica Kennedy, Contributing Writer |
A large debate is currently underway, all over the world, as to whether or not parents should vaccinate their children. According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, without vaccinations, children are more likely to catch deadly diseases, such as polio, mumps, measles, chicken pox, et cetera; spreading them around, causing major outbreaks of diseases that could have been avoided. These vaccinations take a weakened strain of the virus to help your immune system recognize the sickness and be able to fight it off if you ever came into contact with one of these or other viruses. According to vaccineinformation.org, vaccinations encourage your immune system to produce antibodies to destroy the vaccine germs, almost like a training exercise preparing your immune system to fight off actual disease germs. Although these vaccinations have been proven to save lives and be significantly more effective than any other method of virus protection, many parents are opting out of vaccinating their children. This refusal to get their children vaccinated and many strict school rules to have children vaccinated has led to an outbreak of legal cases.
In Kentucky, an unvaccinated high school student, 18, is suing his school for not allowing him to participate in after-school activities, such as basketball, without receiving vaccines, since there was a chickenpox outbreak at the school, Our Lady of the Assumption Church. The student, Jerome Kunkel, and his parents are against vaccinations for religious reasons and believe that since they got chickenpox as kids, it’s viewed as something of a trifle for their son to be exposed to the virus. The family falsely believes the chickenpox vaccine contains cells from aborted fetuses, despite the National Catholic Bioethics Center saying the vaccination doesn’t contain aborted cells. Refusing to go against his beliefs and having signed a waiver to originally attend the school unvaccinated for his religious beliefs, Kunkel believes it is unfair for the school to deny him attendance for not getting vaccinated and is bringing his case to court on April 1. However, the state’s Health Department believes they are properly using their authority and plans to stand by their rules, banning unvaccinated children from the school and extracurricular activities until 21 days after the last student and faculty member gets over the virus.
Similarly, in New York’s Rockland County in December, a large measles outbreak occurred which infected over 100 children in the area. The schools in this county had similar policies to the Kentucky school, banning unvaccinated children from attending the school until the outbreak was over. Many parents of unvaccinated children from the Green Meadow Waldorf School sued the county’s health department but were denied by Judge Vincent Briccetti to allow their children to return to school during the outbreak. The parents were infuriated by the disruption in their children’s schoolwork and social lives, but the Rockland County’s Health Department stands by their decision to keep the unvaccinated children from the school during the outbreak because the ban helped to prevent the measles outbreak from spreading throughout the entire school.