What Do High Schoolers Think About Vaccines?

Parents all over the world are deciding not to vaccinate their children. With the percentage of unvaccinated children at an all time high, problems are starting to develop. (Photo Public Domain)

Starting on March 28, all unvaccinated children will be prohibited from going into public areas in Rockland County, New York due to a measles outbreak. People under 18 who have not received their MMR vaccine–a vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella– are asked to refrain from interaction with the public to prevent the measles from spreading further.

With 153 confirmed cases in the county, the health of everyone is at risk. Allowing unvaccinated children to go in public is putting all others in jeopardy.

More and more people have been deciding not to vaccinate their children. The reasoning behind this can be personal, health, or religious beliefs. Today’s younger generations hold the fate of everyone’s future health in the palm of their hands. The decisions that people will choose to make with their children will affect everyone in the future.

Leesville Road High School students are a group out of the many individuals who will one day make the decision for their children. What do they think about being vaccinated?

Lyssa Menendez, a freshman at Leesville, believes that her parents chose to vaccinate her so she doesn’t get any harmful diseases. She thinks it’s okay for parents to choose not to vaccinate their kids. ”Some parents have different views, maybe they just don’t like the idea of giving their child so many shots,” she said.

Others have a stronger opinion towards the controversial topic. Lanie Edelson, a sophomore at Leesville, thinks that “not being vaccinated is stupid because there are so many diseases they prevent.” Edelson has no idea why parents don’t vaccinated their children “because it can harm other people, not just themselves.”

Both Menendez and Edelson already know that if they have children in the future that they will vaccinate them. “I want them to be safe and diseases just keep spreading; there’s only going to be more,” said Menendez.

Diseases aren’t going to disappear “because people don’t take the necessary protection against them,” said Edelson.

1.3% of children born since 2015 are not vaccinated, and the number is only increasing. In 2013, 4.2% of vaccines were refused by parents.

When Menendez discovers that people are unvaccinated, it rarely affects her. “It’s not like I’m not going to be their friend or something, I just don’t really agree with it,” she said. “I’m not going to think differently of them as a person; it’s just kind of how you were raised.”

One of the biggest disputes over vaccines is the idea that being vaccinated can cause autism. Studies by the CDC — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–have proved that there is no link between vaccines and autism. Although scientifically proven, some parents still suspect that there is underlying side effects to vaccinations.

Just because “some people may get autism that doesn’t mean it’s from the vaccine,” Menendez said. “There have been so many studies that show that [getting autism from vaccines] is not true, they are going against so many medical professionals,” Edelson said.

Menendez thinks it’s outrageous for parents to even draw the two together. “They are kind of jumping to a conclusion; I see how it could be a concern, but I don’t think it’s a valid concern.”

For both students, vaccines are part of their childhoods. Going to the doctor’s office as a child, Menendez never really saw vaccines as her choice. She believes that just because someone is vaccinated doesn’t mean they will agree with it in the future. All Edelson knows is that “people need to get their vaccines,” no matter what their personal beliefs are.

As high school students, there isn’t much to do to create change in the world. “It’s not like you can make a poster like ‘Get Your Vaccines Kids’,” said Edelson. We should “really focus on events like the measles outbreak so we can spread awareness” and prevent things like this from ever happening again Menendez said.

In order to fix the current problem and prevent any future issues, vaccines should “be more heavily enforced,” said Menendez. Edelson believes this can only be done by passing laws that “force people to get vaccines.”

Edelson wants people to know that there is no scientific reasoning against vaccines; she wonders “why people are so afraid?”

Regardless of opinions about vaccines, we can all agree that there is a problem that needs to be fixed. This can only be solved by raising awareness, working together, continue to perform studies, and develop new methods of vaccination.


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