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Moms Council Question of the Week: Vaccinate or Take the Exemption?

What do you think about the state schools requirement for whopping cough, or Tdap, vaccination?

In this space every Wednesday, the La Mesa Patch Moms Council poses a question and invites your wisdom—and chimes in themselves.

The council is captained by Mommin’ Around columnist Genevieve Suzuki. Other members of the Moms Council are Deena While, Linda Byerline, Tony Lawrence, Elizabeth Blust and Phylicia Mann.

Now the question:

California requires students grades 7 through 12 to show proof of having been vaccinated against pertussis. Meanwhile, the flu vaccine has already begun its seasonal circulation. What do you think about the state requirement? And did you vaccinate your child against the flu?

Deena While September 08, 2011 at 04:22 AM
Each year I file a waiver from immunizations. That being said, everyone needs to take responsibility for their children's health. You cannot waiver out and hope for the best, that puts everyone at risk. Your child's protection must be the top priority. My family has an alternative health care program that addresses these issues.
Genevieve Suzuki September 08, 2011 at 06:15 AM
We had Quinn vaccinated against whooping cough and make sure she gets the flu vaccine every year. I agree with Deena that everyone needs to take responsibility for their children's health, and that what works for some may not work for all. I can tell you this much, though: We felt a lot better knowing Quinn had been vaccinated when whopping cough returned.
Ken Stone September 08, 2011 at 08:16 AM
Yesterday I got a Tdap shot in my left arm and flu shot in my right. I didn't cry once!
Tony Lawrence September 08, 2011 at 02:24 PM
I got my shots and always get my kids vaccinated. The complaints I hear and stories are scary, but annecdotal at best. At som epoint you have to trust people who know - and the overwhelming number of doctors and health care professionals say get the shots - so we get the shots. The school - and students and parents - have an obligation to make sure epidemics and outbreaks are minimized and have a strategy to do so. I hear cries of "freedom" and "you can't force us" but you do not have the freedom to bring back small pox or polio or the plague. the results are stark. Massive spreading of contageous diseases are WAY down. Get the shot - or make some suitable plan to insure your "freedom" does not put my child at risk. (Wow, cranky this morning, sorry about that)
Ted September 08, 2011 at 02:55 PM
The term "requirement" is misleading, since California allows exemptions for any reason. Vaccines have risks as well as benefits. In the 1980s, vaccine makers were deluged with so many lawsuits that Congress established a vaccine court and the federal government assumed liability for vaccine injuries. For a rational approach to vaccination, I highly recommend this site: http://smartvax.com/
Elizabeth September 08, 2011 at 04:44 PM
Both my girls had H1N1 (swine flu) a few years ago, before the vaccine was available. Having seen what they went through, I would definitely want to have them vaccinated against whatever the next threat is. I just sent my daughter's yellow "shot record" to her school yesterday to prove she got the dtap booster last year, and I scheduled my own flu shot (I used to get them free from my employer, but now I'm self-employed). My thought is that I want to be immunized against anything that's likely to harm me, and I want others around me to be immunized as well. Even if my kids are protected, if a bunch of their classmates aren't and one person gets the others sick, my kids are still going to suffer even if it's not from the illness itself. As for personal liberty vs. "mandatory" health procedures, we all must sacrifice a little bit of our personal liberty to live in a functioning society. Unless someone has a really good reason for opting out -- like religious or other medical reasons -- I think the people in the "the government can't make me" camp should just quietly go get their vaccines, and if anybody asks, they can say "I did it because I wanted to, not because the gov't told me to."
Ted September 08, 2011 at 05:33 PM
The CDC reports that in the United States, cases of whooping cough have increased approximately 10-fold in the last twenty years, despite an increase in infant vaccination rates from 61% getting at least three doses of the pertussis vaccine in 1991 to 96.2% in 2008. Interpreting this data and considering the extremely low percentage of unvaccinated children, this means the 2010 outbreak in California must mathematically be attributable to the vaccinated children spreading the bacteria. · Per the NY Times, “The rise in pertussis doesn’t seem to be related to parents’ refusing to have their children vaccinated for fear of potential side effects. In California, pertussis rates are about the same in counties with high childhood vaccination rates and low ones.” Vaccination choice is not just a matter of public safety but also of medical ethics. Forcing medical care on the unwilling is unethical and contrary to internationally recognized norms of legality. These norms were formulated after World War II in response to the misuse of medical treatments by the Axis powers and are known as the Nuremburg Code. "The Code rejects the moral argument that the creation of benefits for many justifies the sacrifice of the few. Every experiment, no matter how important or valuable, requires the express voluntary consent of the individual. The right of individuals to control their bodies trumps the interest of others in obtaining knowledge or benefits from them."

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