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Summer Cole

Ms. Mary McDonald

Composition I

5 December 2016

The Deadly Viruses Amongst Us

Over the years, there has been endless controversy concerning childhood vaccinations.

Parents are wondering if the vaccines are safe and do the benefits of the vaccinations outweigh

the risks. Vaccines are a proven safe way to protect our children and save lives. Childhood

vaccinations are required to attend daycares and schools in Oklahoma; yet many unvaccinated

children are attending theses daycares and schools daily. Stricter enforcement of vaccination

laws will help eliminate the presence of unvaccinated children in schools and daycares, and

vaccinations reduce the risk of the introduction of illnesses that are preventable.

Childhood vaccinations have proved to be safe for children; yet, many parents refuse to

have their children vaccinated. In fact, currently, the United States has the safest, most effective

vaccine supply in its history. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) handle vaccine

safety monitoring, and vaccines are required to be safe and effective prior to being available for

use (Making the Vaccine Decision). The FDA requires up to ten or more years of testing

before vaccines are even licensed (Should any Vaccines). Some parents are weary about

vaccinating their children because of the rumors associated with some of the ingredients included

in the vaccines, as well as, the possible side effects. Thimerosal or mercury is the main

ingredient of concern because it was associated with children and Autism. Multi-dose vials of the

influenza vaccine are the only vaccinations that still include thimerosal; the dosage contains such

a small amount that there is no evidence of any harmful effects (Making the Vaccine Decision)
According to Paul Offit, MD children are exposed to more bacteria, viruses, toxins, and other

harmful substances in one day of normal activity than in vaccines. Many foods that we feed our

children have more contamination and can be even more harmful than a vaccine that can save

their lives. Breast milk and infant formula contain more aluminum than contained in the

vaccines. (Should any Vaccines) Most parents only want what is best for their children, and

vaccinating children protects them against fourteen infectious diseases that could potentially be

deadly. Knowing that I am possibly saving my childs life by vaccinating her against those

diseases is reason enough to follow the set vaccination schedule for Oklahoma.

In all fifty states, vaccinations are required for children to attend any childcare or school.

No minor child should be admitted to any public, private, or parochial school operating in

Oklahoma unless and until proper immunization verification is presented to the appropriate

school authorities from a licensed physician, or authorized representative of the State

Department of Health, stating that the child has received or is in the process of receiving,

immunizations against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB),

measles (rubeola), rubella, poliomyelitis, varicella, and hepatitis A or is likely to be immune as a

result of prior disease (Vaccines for School). Several states allow for certain exemptions to this

immunization law. There are three allowed exemptions: medical, religious, and personal beliefs.

A licensed physician must sign all medical exemptions, and a religious leader or a parent or

guardian must sign all exemptions for religious or personal beliefs. The Immunization Service

specified for each state must approve any exemption request. Parents requesting an exemption

for religious or personal beliefs are intentionally putting other children at risk of possible

infection of preventable diseases. Children who are exempt due to serious medical conditions

depend on the children surrounding them to be vaccinated (to help protect them from contracting
the preventable diseases vaccinations help to prevent). School immunization laws are one of the

most effective ways to prevent disease outbreaks, because daycares and schools are the major

sites for transmission of diseases. If we keep vaccinating our children, we can look forward to a

future when these diseases will no longer be of concern (Vaccines for School).

Enforcement of the immunization law is the responsibility of daycare and school

officials. Stricter enforcement of the immunization requirements is the best way to make sure

that all children in attendance of daycare and schools are vaccinated on time. Each daycare and

school must obtain every childs immunization record (making sure that the required vaccination

schedule has been followed), and do not allow children who are not up-to-date on vaccinations

attend their daycares or schools until the parents bring them into compliance. Some parents

choose to delay vaccines because they think that the vaccines overwhelm their childs immune

system, but studies have shown this belief to be false. A babys immune system easily responds

to the vaccinations; furthermore, there is no greater risk for side effects when several vaccines

are given in one day versus if the vaccines were given separately. Telling a parent that they

cannot bring their child to daycare or school until they receive the required vaccines may be hard

but saying that can save a life (Cline). Oklahoma is one of the eighteen states that allow parents

to choose not to vaccinate their children for religious and personal reasons. Each year there has

been an increase in the number of parents choosing these exemptions. In the 2004 2005 school

year, only .3 percent of kindergarteners were not vaccinated because of personal exemptions;

however, in the 2014 2015 school year, the percentage jumped to 1.1 percent. This means that

for roughly 54,700 children, about 547 children were not vaccinated and attending school

(Cosgrove). Daycare and school officials should have the authority to decide whether their

location will accept the exemptions. Kristen Smith, of Elk City, knows first-hand what it feels
like to lose a loved one to a vaccine preventable disease. Her son Aiden contracted pertussis and

later died. Smiths son was too young to be vaccinated; he was dependent on the people

surrounding him to be vaccinated (Cosgrove).

Despite all of the vaccine controversy, many parents continue to have their children

vaccinated daily. Vaccinating our children is the right thing to do. Vaccines are the proven way

to protect our children against debilitating and possibly deadly preventable diseases. Stricter

enforcement of vaccination laws will help eliminate the presence of unvaccinated children in

schools and daycares endangering the lives of our children. Maybe one day these preventable

diseases will be no more.

Word Count: 1167

Works Cited

Cline, PhD, Terry. 2014 Child Care Guide to Immunizations in Oklahoma. Vaccines for Child

Care - Oklahoma State Department of Health. Oklahoma Department of Health, June

2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2016

Cosgrove, Jaclyn. More Are 'Opting Out' of Childhood Vaccinations in Oklahoma.

NewsOK.com. N.p., 08 June 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Making the Vaccine Decision. CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 Aug. 2016.

Web. 18 Nov. 2016. Content Source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory


Should Any Vaccines Be Required for Children? ProConorg Headlines. ProCon.org, 19 Sept.

2016. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.

Vaccines for School - Oklahoma State Department of Health. Ok.gov. Oklahoma Department

of Health, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.