Vaccination rates dip downwards, in spite of science

Alex Tsymbalisty, Perspective Editor

As of late, more and more parents are forgoing vaccinating their children based on the false belief that vaccines cause ailments like autism and multiple sclerosis.

This “anti-vax” movement is making waves across the United States with some parents going as far as to not vaccinate their school-going children and defend their right to do so.

Every state has their own laws about vaccinating children. Only three states– West Virginia, Mississippi, and California– have no exemptions  for children to be vaccinated. Most other states have exemptions for medical, religious, or personal reasons. In Illinois, the only thing that can exempt you from a required vaccine is a religious exemption.

According to Renee Riggio, school nurse at Lake Park, Lake Park is no exception.

“Illinois state law requires certain immunizations for children and adults enrolled in child care, Pre-school-12th grade, or college,” Riggio said. “Lake Park requires that students comply with this state law in order to be enrolled in our school.  In certain situations, Illinois law does allow for medical and religious exemptions.”

Regardless of state differences on exemptions, there is a consensus on the validity of vaccines.

According to the Center for Disease Control, a vaccinated population means “herd immunity” from deadly viruses.

Basically, by having as many people vaccinated as possible, a society makes it harder for a virus to spread and thus prevents outbreaks or epidemics.  For example, in order to be safe from measles, 95 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated from measles.

But by getting vaccinated, patients protecting not only themselves but also other people with vulnerable immune systems. These people may have a weakened immune system from medication (like those that treat cancer) or from genetic disorders.

Between 2010 and 2016 the rate of refusal of vaccination rose from 2.5 percent to 4 percent according to Blue Cross and Blue Shield reports.