California Educator

March 2015

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Kari Weber: No. I get fined if I don't vaccinate my dog, but can allow my unvaccinated child to infect dozens?! How is that fair? Leslie A. Mesic: Scientists and doctors did not spend decades (centuries even) trying to develop immunizations for diseases and conditions that killed hundreds of thousands of children (or left them disabled for life) for no reason. Kevin Kirschman: Medical reasons, yes, otherwise, no. In fact, liability should be a factor for those who refuse immunizations and whose choice causes economic or personal loss to others. Nancy DaSilva Hagmann: Not public school. You might have the right to a free public education, but you don't have the right to put others at risk! John Sullivan: Teachers are exposed to enough sickness. Adding a preventable disease is an unnecessary risk and jeopardizes not just the teacher but the other students' education. Bridget Landgraf Martinez: Absolutely not. I have a student who has had a transplant so was only given one MMR shot — it is everyone else's duty to keep him safe by vaccinating their kids! Herd immunity! Amanda Kosmala Wade: My students and I should not be put in danger. A measles outbreak is occurring in a nearby district. Why should my students and I be put at risk? Scott Cobun: Yes. We should educate people on why it makes sense to vaccinate, not become a society that forces people to do things. If we focus on educating with facts, we don't have to resort to heavy-handed government. My kids are vaccinated, but I will not support the forcible vaccination of others. This would also have a disparate impact on minority communities. Randy Daniel: Yes. You have an immune system, use it! As the late George Carlin said, it needs practice to get better and to be more effective. Janis Brown: Yes. The government should not be mandating forced use of drugs. There are too many vaccines. Chicken pox is not needed, and Gardasil can have devastating side effects. Actually they all can. Reasonably speaking, terrible side effects are unlikely, but still, the government should not be able to mandate that risk if parents do not want to take it. The fact that there is a law to pay those injured by vaccines should speak for itself. Joy Caspers: I wish the MMR [measles, mumps and rubella] vaccine could be administered as separate vaccines. My first son got that separately. The second got them all together in one shot. I was never comfortable with that. I asked for the old vaccines, but the doctor said he couldn't administer them because of insurance. I said I would pay cash. He said no. I think the options should be available to parents. YES NO CTA's policy on communicable diseases CTA believes communicable diseases present serious health risks for students and school personnel. Appropriate health education programs are essential to prevent the spread of communicable diseases in the learning environ- ment. CTA supports immunization and testing for communicable diseases as recommended by the health department. Districts should include Hepatitis B vaccines for all school employees, who on a daily basis, come in contact with bodily fluids. Students diagnosed as having communicable diseases should be educated in appropriate settings, as defined by local agencies, which would protect the dignity and civil rights of the students, their peers, and school employees. We asked this question on CTA's Facebook page, and the response was overwhelming. These are just a few of the 230 people who responded, most of whom answered no. If you have an opinion, you're welcome to share it on CTA's Facebook page or send your comments to Point/Counterpoint Perspectives 22 Should students be allowed to attend school without immunizations?

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