Siena College's Student Newspaper

Opinion

NY Judge Denies Unvaccinated Kids From Attending School During Measles Outbreak and It’s About Time

A New York judge denied 44 unvaccinated kids from attending school during the measles outbreak in Rockland County. The children were not allowed to return to school for three weeks. As can be expected, the parents sued. Surprisingly, they lost their case: and honestly, it’s about time they’re put in their place.

Unvaccinated children have threatened the health of children too young to receive vaccinations, those who are unvaccinated, and even those who are vaccinated for decades now. Despite the fact that some are religiously exempted students, there are other unvaccinated children that threaten the United States, and they are everywhere in the 21st Century. These children are bringing back eradicated diseases that haven’t been in the United States for years and years, such as the measles that were considered “eliminated” in the United States since 2000.

A lot of parents are under the misconception that vaccinated children protect those who are unvaccinated. According to the New York Times, herd immunity is only effective if more than 94 percent of people are vaccinated. With more and more children not being vaccinated, the 94 percent doesn’t exist anymore, which eliminates herd immunity. The percent is still in the 90s for the measles vaccine for most states, although some are dipping below 90.

That’s a problem.

The percentage should be in the high 90s, so herd immunity does work for those who medically cannot receive the vaccine, not for those whose parents opt them out because of false beliefs.

The fact that we, as a country, have knowingly allowed parents to endanger their children and other children around them is a bit concerning. Most insurance will cover those vaccines, as they’re required for school. The bigger problem than letting parents make the decision to not vaccinate their children is the fact that the United States is fully capable of vaccinating everyone inexpensively and chooses not to enforce that.

How have non-Orthodox Jews gotten away with religious exemptions for so long? Their religion doesn’t require them to skip vaccinations. So why is the United States allowing parents who don’t really have an exemption to not vaccinate their children? The disease was eliminated in 2000, there’s no reason it shouldn’t still be eliminated.

This is why the New York judge was right to not let those children return to school for three weeks. Unvaccinated children, who can easily contract the measles disease during the outbreak, should not ever be able to potentially harm another child or even an adult. The outbreak is spreading so quickly because these children cannot protect themselves from the disease.

The whole “personal beliefs” system put into place right now is wrong. Just because a parent personally believes something, doesn’t make it right. And if it affects and risks others’ lives around them, it definitely doesn’t make it right. The parents who sued the school for denying their children access to the school are wrongly assuming their personal beliefs or religious exemptions outweigh the good and betterment of society. It doesn’t.

Lives are at risk here. Parents’ personal beliefs can go to Hell.