Eradicate vaccine objections

Luke Londo

In 2000, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) declared that measles was eradicated. However, in 2012, 54 instances of measles were reported in the United States. In 2013, that number ballooned to 187 cases. So far in 2014, 24 cases have been documented.

Luke Londo
Luke Londo

The CDC reports that recent increase in measles cases can be partially attributed to parents of schoolaged children filing objections for immunizations required by nearly all school districts nationwide, as well as collegiate institutions, including NMU.

According to the CDC, Michigan ranks fourth highest in the nation for parents filing medical, religious or philosophical objections to vaccinations. More than 5 percent of Michigan kindergarteners have waivers on file with their school district.

While some of these objections (particularly medical) have merit, the loose standards for filing philosophical objections (which make up three quarters of waivers filed) have enabled diseases that were nearly eradicated to come back, threatening the health of children who have done nothing wrong other than having overzealous parents.

There’s a reason one can’t file a scientific objection to vaccinations: they’re completely without merit. A study showing links between vaccinations and autism has long since been debunked, but is still promulgated on the bowels of the Internet, convincing unsuspecting people of baseless claims.

Nearly every religion has no objection to immunizations, save one recent objection by the Vatican to rubella vaccinations, due to the vaccination’s use of embryonic cells.

Medical objections are few and far between and generally only apply to a limited number of vaccinations that elicit an adverse reaction.

However, philosophical objections can be filed by nearly anyone, and are often abused by parents who are either apathetic, misinformed or have a haphazard attitude toward their children’s health. It is for this reason that 30 states don’t accept philosophical objections to vaccinations.

But Michigan does. As a result, less than 72 percent of young children and 63 percent of Michigan adolescents are fully immunized, according to the Michigan State Medical Society.

Some parents merely forget to get their child properly vaccinated and find it easier to file an objection, according to an epidemiologist with the CDC based in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Community Health has tried to mitigate forgetfulness on the part of parents by holding press conference reminding them of requirements.

But as the current immunization rates reflect, this effort has done little to remedy the problem.

Michigan would be wise to go the way of 30 other states that don’t accept philosophical objections, requiring parents, forgetful or otherwise, to get their children immunized before they can attend classes.

Besides, what parent could possibly have a philosophical objection to the health of their children, or to the eradication of disease?