Vaccination: A Non-Negotiable Issue

There are lots of ways you could die in college. Bicycle accident, sleepwalking off a balcony, running across Sixth Street, taking one too many shots all by your lonesome, attacked with a sword on Mt. Baldy, or picking up meningitis from some kid with an earache at Jump Start. There are literally hundreds of ways you could die. There is one way, however, that ought to be eliminated.

There is absolutely no reason anyone should ever become ill, let alone die, from any disease for which there is a vaccination. The five colleges ought to make vaccination for the range of common childhood diseases mandatory for incoming students. While the current policy is that these vaccinations are necessary, some students have received exemption for religious or other reasons.

The anti-vaccination phenomenon is spreading, and with it the chance to cause rampant epidemics.

In the 20th century, the people who were not vaccinated were poor because they couldn’t afford it. When epidemics broke out, they were typically in poor urban areas, where people lived in close quarters without the means to afford appropriate health care.

The government made it a priority to vaccinate all children, rich or poor, and outbreaks of preventable disease steadily declined.

Today, some of the people who are not vaccinated are members of the well-educated, typically well-off class. These people have no legitimate reason and no right to avoid vaccination, and endanger the rest of society with their irresponsibility.

These people sometimes claim that they do not trust the medical establishment. Some also claim that they are uncomfortable putting foreign substances into their children’s bodies. Religious reasons are cited as well. Neither of these reasons are acceptable excuses for failing to vaccinate a child.

Non-vaccinators do not have the expertise to evaluate the medical establishment, and it is furthermore an individual responsibility to find a doctor who provides trustworthy knowledge and advice. As for foreign substances, these parents need to loosen up. There are foreign substances on children’s fingers, not to mention in their mouths, all the time. Additionally, the government regulates religious activity that it deems physically harmful.

It is superstitious and medieval to distrust medicine, and to assume that natural remedies will cure all ills. It is ignorant to insist, despite hundreds of studies disproving the connection between vaccinating and autism, that there is such a correlation.

Vaccinating should not be a personal choice. Failing to vaccinate is like building a wood-and-thatch town home in between brick homes that are built to code. It’s a huge fire hazard, and it endangers the whole neighborhood. No one would tolerate such a hazardous home, and no one should tolerate equally dangerous non-vaccinators.

Individual rights in the United States are based on the notion that these rights will not endanger other people. Failure to vaccinate oneself cannot be a right because it necessarily endangers other people. Choosing not to vaccinate a child doesn’t merely put your own child at risk, but puts the rest of society at risk.

If a newborn baby dies because an non-vaccinated child gave them a preventable disease, a murder has occurred. The irresponsible parents who willingly put the lives of other people’s children at risk ought to be charged for that crime.

In many places in the United States, there are laws that prevent the carrying of concealed weapons, the dumping of toxic waste, reckless driving, and smoking in public places. These are health and safety hazards for society, and thus government is able to make laws that inhibit personal rights in favor of the safety of society. While states do require vaccination, many allow philosophical and religious objections. This is not the case, however, for the other health and safety measures above. Objections should not be permitted for vaccination.

Until states do not permit vaccination objections, the 5Cs ought to introduce their own policy requiring all incoming students to be vaccinated without exception. It is the colleges’ responsibility to keep everyone on campus as safe and healthy as possible, and that includes making sure everyone is vaccinated.

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