After a third case of measles was confirmed in Utah County, the threat of the airborne illness spreading throughout the valley suddenly became very real.
Measles was eradicated from the country fifteen years ago; however, the increase of parents refusing to vaccinate their children has consequently resurrected the disease. Utah has unfortunately made that easier to achieve than other states.
Parents can elect to decline the immunizations based off of personal and religious beliefs. It goes without saying that the states that do not allow these exceptions have a much lower rate of these entirely avoidable illnesses.
Jordan School District and Canyons School District are prime examples – at least according to their policies.
The policies state that students must be excluded from school if they do not have the required immunizations, but says “students may attend school under a conditional enrollment if the student has received one dose of each specified vaccine prior to enrollment and is on schedule for subsequent immunizations.” However, it is unclear in those policies what happens if the conditions are not met.
Beyond this, students can be exempt completely if “an official Utah State Religious Exemption form obtained at the local health department where the student resides indicating that the person is a bona fide member of a specified, recognized religious organization whose teachings are contrary to immunizations.”
Granite School District says they follow the guidelines made by the health department. Those who wish to opt out for personal reasons must file all of the mandatory paperwork from their doctor; students are free to carry on with their enrollment afterwards. Further action is only taken in the case of a confirmed outbreak within the school.
All unimmunized students are removed from Granite School District’s establishments and cannot return for 21 days.
This all seems to be more trouble for all involved, especially the schools. Schools already do not have sufficient funding to focus on educational purposes – do they really need to worry about basic health concerns that should have already been taken care of?
Most parents who decide to opt out are sadly misinformed and refuse to see sense. The myth that vaccines cause autism was debunked many years ago, yet people still choose to believe this fiction. If a disease than can potentially kill your children or others is easily preventable, by all means – do it. The irresponsibility is outrageous.
The legitimate health circumstances that exclude immunizations are having weakened immune systems, or simply being too young. However, if your child can be vaccinated, do not risk infecting others whose defenses are already down.