I am calling on the federal government to mandate vaccinations for all children, and to eliminate all of the silly loopholes that are creating chaos in so many communities throughout America. Vaccinations are not only about the individual, but they are also meant to protect the lives of others.
As we have seen over the past several weeks, measles, and other communicable diseases that were all but eradicated decades ago, are popping up across the country, and putting people’s lives in danger.
Basic childhood vaccines should be the legal requirement of every citizen in this country, except in the case of medical contraindications. However, those exclusions should only be granted by a physician or health care provider. It is not for the parent, or consumer advocate to offer an opinion that prevents a child from receiving a vaccination. All these opinions serve to do is confuse the caregiver and possibly even misinform them, which could have fatal implications for the child.
Despite the fact that I hate the idea of government regulations and mandates, I have to agree with many of my colleagues that the time has come for the government to step in and take control of this issue. Let’s take a look at who unvaccinated children put in danger: Anybody who has a weakened immune system, and I’m talking specifically about adults.
Any cancer survivor, or chemotherapy patient has a weakened immune system, and exposure to measles could be fatal. Each day, an average of 79 people receive life-saving organ transplants. Many of them must take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of their lives to prevent rejection of their new, healthy organ making them virtually defenseless against communicable diseases.
Patients who are prescribed certain medications to treat arthritis, or those taking prednisone, a steroid used to treat inflammatory diseases, also have depressed immune systems making them vulnerable to diseases.
It’s easy to see that the argument is not about one unvaccinated child. The basis of the argument stems from the need to protect our society from communicable diseases. We must enforce policies that would guarantee that at least some of the basic vaccines like those to protect against measles, mumps, rubella, polio, whooping cough and tetanus are given to children. In doing so, we will help our youth enjoy a healthy childhood, while also protecting ourselves from early, possibly preventable death.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Click here for more information on Dr. Manny's work with Hackensack University Medical Center. Visit AskDrManny.com for more.