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Mandatory School Vaccinations

| 29 Comments

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new immunization recommendations for 11- and 12-year-old girls, including the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine. Since the CDC approved the HPV shots last year, policymakers have debated whether to require the controversial vaccine for public school attendance.

While vaccination policies serve an important public-health purpose by ensuring that a high percentage of the population is protected against preventable diseases, school officials often complain that implementing them is a burden for their school systems. And some parents argue that the requirements infringe on their right to chose which vaccines their children receive.

What do you think? Should schools have primary responsibility for ensuring children are properly vaccinated? If so, which vaccinations should be required in order to attend school?

29 Comments

Vaccinating our girls against this cancer causing virus is very important, however insurance companies at this time do not cover the costs of the 3 boosters. Schools can not possibly require the HPV vaccine if their insurance or county health department do not cover the cost.

I agree with Cara teacher and parent, and to add to her comment-where are the longterm studies whcih shed light on the possible side-effects of the HPV vaccine? The state has already too much control over what grown women can do with their bodies! We cannot, in good conscience, allow the girls of the nation to be pumped full of a chemical, whatever the potential benefits, that hasn't been studied long-term. Education and prevention is the key, of course, because we should have learned the lesssons of drug resistant diseases. Oh yeah, and if HPV was that important to the governing body then why hasn't it been addressed in classrooms and pediatricians' offices? Because education and healthcare is segregated in this country. Let's get smart(er) about this!

I have a real problem with schools being enforcers of anything health related. Schools should encourage vaccinations and getting educated on both sides of the issue, that's it. Schools seem like Nanny Institutions these days, with their hands in the physical and mental health, not to mention economic health, of families to far too great a degree. Outside help should remain out there, references are enough. But to the point, I have studied the HPV vaccine enough to know that it's prevention rate is surprisingly low, there have been at least 5 deaths firmly attributed to it, and there have not been nearly enough studies on it...especially long term studies. But the same thing happened with the chicken pox vaccine. Everyone jumped on that bandwagon, mini-outbreaks occured from it with very severe cases (7 years ago my 4 year old and 4 month old caught it from a vaccinated child, as did half her preschool class, for example)and other problems occurred. Now there are millions of kids who, if they forget to get a booster every 10 years, will be at risk of a severe case that causes them sterilization. That vaccination should really be re-thought, and definitely not forced for school attendence. Our state has an opt-out clause and we do that. We only get the vaccinations we are comfortable with and we keep our kids fed with healthy foods, with plenty of sleep and exercise. Some studies show those things are at least as important as getting the shots in the first place.

I am for vaccinating against airborne diseases. The possibility of spreading germs is greater than the small side effects of being vaccinated against things like: Hepatitis, small pox, whooping cough). I do not agree with mandatory vaccination of small girls against HPV. There is a high cancer risk in my family and I don't feel comfortable injecting cells in my children; especially with no guarantee that another cervical cancer wouldn't rear it's ugliness.

Public school systems already require certain vaccinations in order to begin school. Adding other vaccines to this list seems appropriate in today's age. Vaccines like the ones for menningitis, Hepatitis A and B, and HPV are important. We all know menningitis kills. We also know that Hepatitis is devastating to the liver. HPV protects girls from the four HPV that cause cervical cancer. I think this is also a very important vaccine for our daughters. As a parent of a daughter, I vaccinated her against all of the above, as well as chicken pox, since she NEVER got chicken pox as a child. Now, at age fifteen, I know chicken pox will behave differently in her body.

We have the same concerns for the HPV vaccine as people probably had for the Polio, Small Pox and MMR vaccines when they were first created. Think how the Polio and Small Pox vaccines have saved people from devastating illnesses and death. I chose to vaccinate my daughter because my family has a history of cancer, I know a woman who is dying from cervical cancer, and I want my daughter to be protected.

The vaccination schedule has gotten out of hand. When my oldest son was in school he had ten vaccines - now they require 36. Hasn't any one wondered why one in six children have neurological conditions (ADHD, Speech, Autism)! Parents have to get educated and demand the government do more testing to determine what is causing our children to be so ill. Look around, the next generation is the sickest we have ever seen. Please people, start asking questions. From my research, there has been three reported deaths from the Gardisil vaccines. Why is this not reported in the national news. Again, my research reveals that this vaccine has not been through any long range studies. And they certainly don't research how 36 vaccines affect our children. America's children deserve better from their government!

We must be sure we are not using our children as pin cushions for profit. Without proper studies and media reporting this can be extremely harmful. I agree with Susan, we all need to check into the new vaccinations being given. We should not let all our daughters be vaccinated with HPV. Remember when they had all of us on hormone replacement therapy and now they have said it is harmful and we no longer all take estrogen. We cannot allow our girls to become part of a study.

promoting and enabling vaccinations by/at/in public/u.s.government schools violates the separation of church/spirituality and state/government principle. all health matters are a matter of personal beliefs, values and options. we know this to be true because of the debates raging around health issues. and so it should be for a people devoted to free thinking and continuous learning. a public school, a service provided by the u.s. government, should not weigh in one way or the other in the domain of religious beliefs or spiritual values. the proper role of public schools in relation to children's vaccinations is to be an educator to the parents by offering information about vaccinations, including the various scientific pros and cons, so that parents can make an informed decision. any form of coercion "for our own good" dumbs us down as a civil socity and schools should not participate in simplifying things but in complexifying things. schools should challenge, not encourage conformity and fear. at the very least, parents must be able to consciously agree to, not just refuse or waive, vaccinations or any other kind of debatable health procedure for their children in any public/government school.

a schools's role in the community is as a "continuous learning organization". schools should not impose one-size-fits-all values. schools should teach how to think, model self-managment, and show how to do things, not what to think, what to feel and what to do.

I am a nurse and I am very supportive in health care, but, I read and really see into these
issues at hand and if they would start testing and creating things for boys and men, a huge part of sickness would stop.I would never give this shot to my daughters and I don't care what any of your comments are.

I am 37 and until 4 years ago, had never been immunized. My parents researched vaccinations being administered in the late 60's/early 70's and found the risks outweighed the liklihood that I, in a rural community, would be exposed to some diseases.
When I moved to a large metropolitan area and began working with the immigrant community, I decided to receive the immunizations for hepatitis and TB. I also received the MMR because I wanted to have children and thought that immunization would protect them should I be exposed.
In a nutshell, I am an advocate for receiving the immunizations you feel necessary for your family at the time they are needed. Not on a schedule that administers powerful medicines into a 2-month old body.
As for the comment about ADHD and immunizations - I am ADHD and was not immunized at that time.

I am encouraged by the overwhelming tendency toward sanity that most of you have shared about vaccines and the school system. There is precious little scentific proof that vaccinations prevent more problems than they cause. Time will tell how these generations of kids who have been vaccinated to such a high degree will fare. My sincere hope is that my worst fears are misguided and paranoid, but I cannot take the "word" of pharmaceutical companies, who stand to gain huge profits from the situation, that the vaccines are safe and necessary. They certainly should never be mandatory. I live in Colorado where we still have the "personal exemption" option. Although I have chosen some vaccinations for my children, it is simply easier (and less invasive) to claim the exemption than to fill out the complex schedules that the school presents. Me and my doctor are responsible for keeping track of medical issues for my children -- this should not be regulated or tracked by the school system. Their job is to teach the kids.

Parents should continue to have choice in which vaccines to give their children. No one, not government, not schools, should have the right to impose this decision. Many people are perhaps not aware that in some children, vaccines cause considerable harm. There have alread been bad reactions in some girls receiving the HPV vaccine. There are risks both to getting vaccines, and to not getting them. That must be weighed by parents and their physicians. Simply do as my school district does, and that is, if there is an outbreak of, say, measles, the unvaccinated children may stay home.

I am against having schools regulate children's immunization programs, even in the cases where the diseases are "infectious". If parents choose not to immunize their children against diseases they might "catch", that should be their right. I had my children immunized when they were tiny infants because not to do so would have been an outrage in my peer group and family. My peers' daughters are smarter, though. They are holding off or not immunizing at all, and some of their children are being accepted at school. This is the way it should be. As for the HPV vaccine, it's probably a good idea for girls who are about to become sexually active, but not for little girls.

Our city is the country's hot spot for Whooping Cough, and this is because we have the highest number of people who have not been vaccinated for Whooping Cough. The correlation looks pretty strong to me - don't get vaccinated and get the disease. Fortunatley, Whooping Cough is not usually a life threatening malady. However, what happens if most people don't get vaccinated for amore serious virus? Then people will start dying from the types of diseases that used to cull our population. Those children who are vaccinated in a sense are altruistic (at least their parents are) becasue they will lessen the likelihood that a large outbreak will occur, and thus they help to protect those who do not get vaccinated.

In our school district, we can sign a waiver stating that vaccinating is against our beliefs. Students can still attend school, and parents have a choice of vaccinating or not. Aren't all districts like this?

The issue of vaccination comes down to a choice. This choice should be an informed choice, with parents receiving all known information before deciding to vaccinate their children. Many lives may have been saved by the smallpox and polio vaccines, but we truely will never surely know because there is no control group that went unvaccinated, though otherwise lived the same way. There is too little study on too many vaccines to warrant making them mandatory. Schools may recommend a vaccine, but also must educate the public on the pros and cons of each vaccine.

Since vaccines are one of the major causes of the explosion of various LD's and Autism, I think the entire decision making process should be the parent's choice. That is unless the government cradle-to-grave agenda is already in force in this country. If it is, then you,DOE,need to inform every parent and prospective parent that as soon as their baby is born that the public school warehouses will take over the raising of their children all the way through college and they can just sit back and follow orders. You might want to inform the teachers also that they are Big Brothers Pawns.

I believe that ultimately parents do make the final decision of whether or not to immunize their children. In the DPS school district, an updated immunization record is required for admission. However, students who have received either no immunizations or who have incomplete immunization records are still admitted provided the parents submit written documentation in the form of a Medical Contraindication Form signed by a physician or a signed Medical Waiver form if they have religious or humanitarian objections to all or some of the required immunizations. In case of an outbreak of any of those diseases, those children would be excluded from school for their own safety. So our parents do have options.
To the school officials I say, this is another reason why it is so important to have nurses in the schools. We are not there just to pass out bandaids. Making sure immunizations are current is one of our many, many functions.
Finally, with regard to the HPV vaccine for girls, I have heard a few parents say it just gives teens a license to engage in premarital sex. Please take off the blinders! Kids are already having sex at way too early an age. Parents need to start communicating with their kids, honestly, before they reach those teen years. And, as a mother and grandmother, I have to add that, if faced with the choice, I would much rather help take care of an illegitimate grandchild than bury my own child.
Thank you for allowing me to sound off.

The responsibility of a school should be to educate students in academic/vocational areas. It should not be the school's responsibility to enforce health care. Parents should be responsible for their own child's well being, and have the choice where immunizations are concerned. Parents are often not held account for their children. Instead, schools and teachers have to be accountable for academics, emotional health, and physical health for students. Is that what school should really be about??

Please do not confuse teachers with district policies. Teachers do not require vaccinations -- the powers that be within the district require vaccinations. Teachers teach, managers create rules.


I just wanted to weigh in on the HPV vaccination. Just by reading a couple of these threads, I can tell that many people really do not know much about HPV. I do not think that this is a necessary vaccination, and I think it is ridiculous that it is being "shoved down" everyone's throats. I think that people need to get better educated about the virus, and even more so about the vaccine.

The school is the logical place to enforce vaccinations for children against infectious diseases which still very much exist and will attack a child if there is no immunity against it.
I have seen a person die of tetanus, I have seen what a mother goes through when a child is born while the mother has chicken pox.
To believe that these diseases could not attack your child would be very short sighted.
There is a lot in information available on line. There is no connection, at present between ADHD or autism and immunizations given. If you do not believe me then please check it out yourself.
There are parents who have children that are autistic or have ADHD that want the government to assist with the medical expenses of their child and are accusing immunizations as being a cause. Their experiences and opinions are just that. While tragic in some cases, they should not be projected to the general population.
The risks of immunization side effects are so minimal compared to to benefits. Please inform yourself before making decisions that might lead to an outbreak in your child's school.
Check it out on line and see what it looks like to have polio, tetanus, diphtheria, etc.
Of all the children that have had immunizations how many do you actually know that have had problems?
If a disease strikes, how many children would be affected?
Public health concerns do not stop at the school door. Public Health concerns should supersede one's individual opinions.

Having said all this, I think that the data on HPV is only 5 years old and if a parent does not want to have their daughter immunized against it that should be their choice.
If their daughter gets cervical cancer due to HPV then it was their choice to not immunize against it and they have to live with that. No one else's child is going to catch cervical cancer from her.

After a year+ of subbing at all levels; working on alt certification in math/business/economics; I have noticed that there is a very wide gap in parental guidance currently. If my memory is correct in the 50's & 60's the schools were very much involved in mandatory health issues...and that is when there were more parents that were involved in their childs education. I know there is little parental supervision at your average public school and if the schools do not help then serious medical,SSAN or other identification issues will fall way short of their goals.
Example: Every employer MUST complete a W-4 upon employing any new person. In addition, the employer MUST complete and keep on file a Federal I-9 form which documents that a new employee is ALLOWED to work in the US. I do not think that I need describe the chaos that is extremely prominent on the news these days about illegal entry into the country and after such entry the subsequent employment because individual employers choose to ignore Federal and State Laws for the sake of saving a few dollars. We handle their breakfast and lunch in the schools and I feel health is at least equally important to these kids.
Please pardon my spelling or grammatical mistakes, if there are any, as most of you are excellent teachers on this forum!

Schools have unique disease transmission issues. The schools do have a significant interest in assuring children are protected against diseases readily transmissable in the school environment, those known to significantly and adversely affect child populations, and those which require significant levels of coverage in a population to produce herd immunity and protection for all.

HPV vaccine should not be part of school immunization requirements until product is available for both boys and girls. Both sexes carry and transmit the virus. The use of exclusion from school as a tool for enforcement of immunization requirements is very significant in the context of our nation's assurance of access to all to a free and appropriate public education. Exclusion should not be used to enforce a vaccine requirement that affects only girls and not boys. The infectious condition itself does not discriminate between genders and neither should the schools.

I feel ALL the communicable diseases that the children are now being vaccinated against are a must (DPT, polio, mmr, Hep-B, varicella); I am also glad to see that Hep-A is now being required for pre-K and Kindergarten. Regarding the HPV vaccine now available, that, I feel, should be at the parents discretion. It is still relatively new, and side-effects unknown, if any. This is not a contagious disease someone can pick up from a sneeze, cough, etc. therefore, should not, I feel, be mandatory, only recommended.

As I mentioned earlier, our county is the hot spot for Whooping Cough. I just talked to a friend whose child contracted Whooping Cough from her girlfriend who was not vaccinated. The daughter was vaccinated and had had her booster, and she still caught it. Fortunately, it is in much milder form, but she is missing the first days of school, all of their family is now on anitbiotics as a precaution, and all friends and schoolmates that were exposed to her daughter are on alert for the symptoms. The bottom line is that because the carriers parents did not vaccinate her many others are paying for this. I find this unacceptable and other school parents should too.

I am a microbiologist by degree and I happen to know that by the time a vaccine is produced the virus has mutated and the vaccine will not be effective.
This is another heartless scheme to dump billions of dollars into a few purses. The medical and pharm. companys spend billions to alarm the public so that those companies can sell old vaccine that was produced for a virus that now has mutated. Big business refuses to lose any money no matter who child gets shot.
My daughter never received the chicken pox vaccines because I did not want an attenuated virus in her system. We moved to Georgia that mandated the vaccination. Previously my child was around at least 2 child with chicken pox and never developed chicken pox. After she received the force immunization, her 5th grade teacher returned to early to school after having chicken pox and of course my daughter suffered because my daughter quickly came down with chicken pox.

My first thought was that the HPV vaccination would be no more controversial than any other vaccination currently required were it not for the timing issue (before a young girl/woman becomes sexually active), that makes us uncomfortable. However, some of the comments here reflect a fairly unfounded fear of all vaccination, coupled with an attitude that health is none of the government's business (or that schools ought not be involved).

This, given history, is more than a bit frightening. During my childhood, the dreaded polio was pretty much a memory, but there were still adults living with various handicaps--including full body paralysis--as a result of the disease. Requiring completion of polio vaccination as a kindergarten entry requirement resulted in wiping the disease out in this country. Do any others remember participating in Sabin Oral Sundays--when patriotic families went together to receive the new vaccines? My family lined up to receive our sugar cubes at the local junior high school.

It struck me one day that while I had missed weeks of school for the expected bouts of measles, german measles, and chicken pox (and my older brother had mumps as well), my children only experienced chicken pox (for which there is now a vaccine). These things are advances in public health--and resulted from public policies requiring nearly universal immunization. Likewise, schools have been involved in universal screening policies. I recall getting my first TB test at school, eye and hearing screenings are part of kindergarten roundups and routine annual nurse visits (as well as a once-over for lice).

While it is true that the population can accommodate a limited number of unvaccinated people with no ill result, the end result of rampant rejection of the principal of universal measures is a poor health outcome for all.

I don't trust our government nor the Big Pharm Companies! They will not endanger my child with their vaccines!!!

I am dealing with this issue now, as we have a religious exemption to the chicken pox vaccination, as it is derived from aborted fetal cell lines. Secondly, I have other serious concerns with this vaccine as well, and with our school's policy towards unvaccinated children.
My son just came home from 21 days excused absence, was in school one day, and then forced out again because of a case of chicken pox found in another grade and nowhere near him or his classroom. My concern is that there are also a large number of teachers/employees who are young and may never have had chicken pox or a vaccine, yet no one is mandating that they be vaccinated. We even have a pregnant teacher, who if not immune and perhaps never vaccinated, would be at significant danger as well as her unborn child, from serious complications if she gets it. ONly chicken pox disease causes lifelong immunity, and we know this b/c the vaccines and boosters are not working. Plus,if non-vaccinated adults are working around the cases of chicken pox in our school, they are far more at risk of spreading the disease to my child, then some child in a completely separate classroom and building. If they contract it, they have far more serious issues to deal with: fatality, possible sterilization, serious cases of pneumonia,etc. It is the best policy, according to my physican and several other pediatricians, to allow children to catch the virus at a young age, and then they will be guaranteed lifelong immunity. I feel as though my son is being punished by spending weeks at home, as he is not the ill child.

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