Girl Banned From Kindergarten Until She Gets Vaccine (That Could Endanger Her Sister)
Talking about children and vaccinations is like opening up a can of worms that could potentially spew deadly acid at you if you stand on the wrong side of the argument. What side is right or wrong? There lies the problem. It's a personal choice—though as parents we all know we don't get too many of those, really.
Case in point: Kindergartner FrankieElizabeth Staiti, from Staten Island, New York, was denied permission by New York State to attend school because she has not received the chicken pox vaccine. Why hasn't she received it? Because her baby sister might suffer from an autoimmune disorder that can cause death if she is exposed to the pathogens found in the vaccine. The recommendation came from the family doctor, but has been rejected by the New York Department of Education's review board. The family is appealing the decision, while also considering homeschooling the child.
As someone who lived in a Third World country and witnessed the real, often deadly results that come from those who have little to no access to medical care or vaccinations, I can't say I am against vaccinating my kids.
As someone who has a teenager with dormant tuberculosis that he contracted while traveling to Honduras (due to failure to vaccinate) and had to maintain a nine-month antibiotic-treatment regimen that was harmful to his liver in order to control a potentially dangerous and highly contagious infection, I can't say that I am against vaccinating my kids.
As someone who wants to make sure her children are safe no matter where they go, and wouldn't want them to be exposed to diseases at school or any other public place they may venture, I can't say I am against vaccinating my kids, or other people vaccinating their kids either.
But I do understand that there are exceptions, and that not every child or circumstance can follow this "one-fits-all" approach to how we do things for our children.
This mother doesn't want to vaccinate her child so as not to risk her other child's life, just as I vaccinate my children so as not to risk my children's lives.
When it comes to the chicken pox vaccine specifically, the approach by the state seems a bit paranoid, considering I had the chicken pox as a child and was fine—highly contagious and itchy, but fine.
Some say this child not getting vaccinated means she could potentially infect other children in her class, which is confusing to me, since the other kids should have had their vaccinations already and the risk should theoretically eliminated.
Others say that exceptions already exist—for religious reasons or even other medical reasons (usually medical conditions that afflict the person not being vaccinated, as opposed to their sibling). As a matter of fact, if this mother claimed religion as her reason for not vaccinating her child, she probably would be exempt from having to do so.
As far as vaccinating my children, I do what works for me. I do my research, I weigh the pros and cons, and, yes, I refer to my personal experiences on this topic. Chances are someone trying to change my mind on this issue would have a hard time. But I have to say, I sympathize with this mom and her choice to not vaccinate her child, especially because her resistance to do so doesn't impose any serious harm to the other children and it spares risking the safety of her vulnerable child.
So, while I see this as an opportunity for those on both sides of the argument to state their cases, the truth is that all this has nothing to do with any of us, but with a mother's personal choice to keep her children safe and an agency's close-mindedness and inability to think outside the box.