No, you don’t get to endanger others

measlesdeathsusaThis story about a judge ruling that no, 44 unvaccinated children cannot go back to school in a place where there is currently a measles outbreak, kind of blew my mind because… this is a subject of debate?

(Important notes: these are not children unvaccinated because health issues like immune system problems – they’re just the victims of having bad parents. And remember when we eliminated measles in the US in 2000? That was nice while it lasted.)

“Preventing my child from being with his class, his teacher, his classroom, has had a significant social and psychological impact,” said a parent of a 4-year old preschooler who declined to give her name. “He is confused, given his young age, about why he isn’t allowed on his campus,” she said, her voice wavering.

Someone should sit him down and explain that it’s because mommy doesn’t believe in science, so he could get deathly sick and make other people sick.

Although court papers filed by Sussman state Green Meadow’s students are “97 percent immune from the disease by all accounts,” the county’s Law Department said the school’s vaccination rate was about 33 percent when the Dec. 5 order was imposed. It subsequently has risen to about 56 percent.

The exclusion — which includes Chestnut Ridge — ends when there are no new cases in that area for 21 days, but because of the continuing increase in the number of measles infections, the exclusion time can be increased to 42 days.

A 56% vaccination rate for measles in a school in New York is appalling. Basing the restriction on time is just good sense.

Like many, I’m uncomfortable with the idea of the government forcing any kind of medical treatment on people. But this is a case where forgoing a medical procedure creates risk for others. You don’t get to have it both ways. If you want to pass on vaccination, you don’t get to create risk for others.

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