Students react to new vaccination requirements

Students react to new vaccination requirements

Vaccinations have been a hot topic as of late, and as Illinois law created new requirements for student immunizations that will be set in place next year, the conversation has been brought to Unit 5.  The legislation, which requires that students entering the 6th and 12th grades receive a meningococcal vaccine, is receiving much positive feedback from staff and students at West.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, slightly more than 90% of all American children have been given the most necessary immunizations, like MMR, DTP, Hep A, and Polio. Despite the popular belief that vaccinations carry more benefit than risk, there are still 10% of parents who are concerned about possible health risks. Heather Dillard, a mom and registered nurse in Missouri, told CBS news that “I have the right to decide what to put into my child’s body.”

Of the students at West, those who believe that vaccinations are necessary and beneficial are in the vast majority. Samantha Wetzel (12) said that “I’ve had all my vaccinations, and I’m glad my parents gave them to me because they prevent the spread of deadly diseases. I think it’s a good idea because these mandatory vaccinations are based on lots of research, and they wouldn’t have us get them without a reason.”

Her response was mirrored by Nathan Scanlon (12), who agreed that: “Everyone should have them, regardless of how they feel.”

Though many agree with vaccination, many students argue that there will be conflict as a result of this new policy. Alex Rich (10) contended that “It is a current issue, that’s true. I think that a lot of people oppose it, so that’s probably going to cause an issue. But I think it’s good considering how close in proximity we are at school to other people, so it’s a safety issue.”

Emilie Hapgood (10) also mentioned this possibility. “I think it will create conflict in the community, but I think it’s a good idea to have everybody vaccinated. It’s the best for everyone.”

There are many ideas about the issues this new policy could create, but perhaps Anthony Biddle (12) said it best when he pointed out the obvious: “If the state’s making them mandatory, then you have to get them. It’s not an option anymore.”