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Arianna Hilk
Professor Benjamin Henderson
CAS 138T
14 April 2016
An End to Exemptions
Vaccinations are the key to keeping populations in the United States safe
from outbreaks of infectious diseases. According to the American Association of
Pediatrics, most vaccinations are 90-99% efficient in their abilities to prevent
disease, and they save approximately 2.5 million children from diseases each
year. However, not everyone in the United States receives the recommended
vaccinations due to vaccine exemption. Because of these unvaccinated people, the
surrounding population is at risk. To resolve this issue, a new law with zero
tolerance of exemption to vaccines needs to be put to order. The law requires all
students who attend private or public schools in America to have all of the
necessary vaccinations. This new law is crucial to the people of the United States
as it is the easiest, safest, and most cost-efficient way to put an end to easily
preventable disease outbreaks.
The Need for Change

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The urgent need for this new policy adoption in the United States stems
from the serious outbreaks that occur in schools far too often, which cause many
students to miss crucial education. For instance, an elementary school in Denver,
Colorado recently experienced a chickenpox outbreak that stemmed from
unvaccinated children who attended the school. The school allows its children to
not receive the proper and recommended vaccines if the parents of the children
deem so. In the school, there was a report that two unvaccinated children in
attendance were experiencing symptoms of chickenpox (Kovaleski). In response
to this, the school and its health officials told the parents of the other fourteen
unvaccinated children who also attended the school that it was highly
recommended that their children did not attend school. This was done to protect
the unvaccinated children from the disease in school. The vaccinated children at
school were able to continue going to class due to their proper vaccines.
However, because the parents of the unvaccinated children chose to be against
vaccines, mainly due to religious reasoning in this case, these unvaccinated
children were not able to attend approximately twenty-one days of schoolthe
amount of days in which the chickenpox virus could be dormant. The chickenpox
vaccine, varicella, is 99% effective at preventing the chickenpox infection in

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children (Kovaleski), which is information that these parents knew, but

disregarded. However, if the vaccination requirement law is put into place,
chickenpox outbreaks would be easily avoided because all of the unvaccinated
children would not be attending a school where they could put their fellow
classmates in harms way. Due to the fact that unvaccinated children not only put
themselves at risk, but other children as well, proves just how crucial this law
adoption is for schools.
With the new law requiring all children to receive vaccines, rather than
outbreaks occurring in schools, there will actually be herd immunity. Herd
immunity refers to when a large group of vaccinated people come into contact
with an infectious person; however, due to the fact that the majority of the people
in the group are protected from the disease, the infected person will have a
difficult time passing the disease along (Loving). A perfect example of herd
immunity occurred in Richardson, Texas. In January of 2016, an unvaccinated
student who had recently travelled to another country became infected with the
measles. Not knowing that the child was infected, the parents sent their child to
the public school, which is where it was discovered. Luckily, the child did not
pass the infection along to any other students, because the others were vaccinated

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which made it extremely difficult to become infected because of immunity, as

stated in the article, Measles Case Confirmed at Plano ISD School. Due to the
large amount of vaccinated students, the disease did not transform into an
outbreak. However, the measles scare could have easily been avoided if the child
was vaccinated. To reiterate, if the law was put into action at the time of the
measles scare, the child would have either been vaccinated, which would have
lowered his risk of becoming infected, or he would have never entered the school
because he would not be allowed into the public school without the proper
Policy Plan
In order to make vaccinations a requirement for any child attending
school, there will need to be several authorizations from the American
government to create this law. The United States Congress should require all
people who attend schools to get vaccinated. To prove just how achievable this
policy is in todays world, there is an excellent example in the state of California.
The name of the bill is Bill 277. This bill does not allow exemptions to vaccines,
which rids the parents of the option to not get their children vaccinated if they
want their children to attend private or public school. It was passed by the

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Legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown in June of 2015, which proves
that although it will be difficult to make this new policy nationwide, it is possible
("California State Vaccine Requirements). The California bill does not allow any
sort of exemption to vaccinations. If a parent wants their child to go to school,
that child must be vaccinatedthe religion and beliefs of the parents will no
longer provide any sort of exemption. If a parent still choses to not vaccinate their
children, their only options are to homeschool their children, or move to another
state. This restriction of the first amendment is not only ethical, but necessary
because deciding not to get vaccinated does not solely affect said individual, but
the population around the individual. The premise of the bill is to make it
entirely illegal to send unvaccinated children to schools, which is exactly what
the new law will dobut nationwide.
Benefits of the Change
The benefits of vaccinations include potentially saving a childs life in a
safe and effective manner so requiring all people who attend schools to be
vaccinated is clearly beneficial to all. According to the article Immunize for
Good by Colorado Children's Immunization Coalition, a website that delves
into the benefits and risks of vaccines, vaccines are beneficial because they not

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only protect the person vaccinated, but the people in the surrounding area, as
well. Vaccines are also the most cost efficient way to prevent infectious diseases
because it is significantly less expensive to prevent a disease in comparison to
how much money it costs to treat an infected group of people ("Health and
Medicine Division"). It is concluded that there is no evidence proving that the
proper vaccine schedule recommended for children is dangerous, and vaccines
are the most cost efficient way to prevent diseases, so it is in the publics best
intentions to receive vaccines (Immunize for Good).
Exemption Rebuttal
Despite all evidence pointing to the safety and benefits of vaccines, there
are two main reasons that people are against vaccinations: religion and the false
rumors of vaccinations causing autism in children. One of the main reasons
parents choose not to vaccinate their children is because they believe that
vaccinations are against their religion. In the present day, there is religious
exemption to vaccinations, which allows people to not get vaccines because they
believe it is against their religion. However, religious exemption is something that
will no longer be available according to the new policy. There is some
controversy over whether religious exemption is justifiable or not for the sake of

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vaccines. For instance, many of the religions that are stereotypically known to be
against vaccines actually state morals that show they are for and support the use
of vaccines. For example, it is commonly known that some Catholics do not
believe in the safety in vaccines; however, the Catholic Church actually states
there would seem to be no proper grounds for refusing immunization against
dangerous contagious diseases ("Religion and Vaccinations a Quick
Review). This statement proves that the Catholic Church is not against vaccines,
but it actually states that to not vaccinate would be immoral. Another example of
a typically anti-vaccine religion is Hinduism. Those who practice Hinduism live
their lives in a manner as to respect life, so, they ultimately believe in any
technology, such as vaccines, that would help them live healthier lives. The four
major divisions of Hinduism have not once mentioned a problem with
vaccinations (Grabenstein). Judaism, another quite popular religion, also
supports vaccines for similar reasons to Hinduism, they believe that anything
that will help enhance life is something to be supported. Also, Judaism supports
and focuses on the community rather than just one person when it comes to the
prevention of disease, which is quite similar to the purpose of vaccinesto
protect the community. Along with the religions mentioned, there are many

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more such as the Amish, and Islam (Grabenstein), who do in fact support
vaccines mainly because the religions understand that vaccines help people live
longer and healthier.
The second reason that some people are against vaccines is the because of
the false rumor created by Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield claimed to have found
scientific evidence that proved that vaccines led to autism in children. It was later
concluded that Wakefield found no evidence, rather, he lied and created false
information to make it seem as though autism stemmed from vaccines (Vaccines
Do Not Cause Autism). Although the scientific consensus is against Wakefields
research on vaccines, and he had his medical license taken away, people still
believe that vaccines can cause autism. These people are victims of the
psychological term, confirmation bias. The confirmation bias means that the
people want so badly to believe that vaccines are not safe, that any mention of
their negative side effects, even if these side effects are proven to be incorrect, still
stick in their minds. (Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism). Fortunately, many
studies prove that autism does not come from vaccines. For example, one study
measured the number of antigens, which are ingredients in vaccines that make
the peoples immune system create disease-fighting antibodies, from vaccines.

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Then, they looked at the results after the vaccines had been used, which proved
that the total amount of antigen after receiving vaccines was the exact same for
children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the children without the disorder
("Study Linking Vaccine to Autism Is Called Fraud). Another claim is that the
ingredient in earlier vaccines, thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, caused
autism. However, no current vaccines contain thimerosalnot because it caused
autism, because it did notbut solely as a precaution ("Study Linking Vaccine to
Autism Is Called Fraud"). Therefore, all rumors and incorrect information
claiming vaccines give children autism have been refuted, meaning there is no
reason to not vaccinate children in fear of autism.
As for the drawbacks of the policy plan, realistically speaking it is going to
be difficult to induce such a big change in the United States because the people
know they have freedom of choice. However, they need to realize that they do
have a choice with this new law: either get their children vaccinated or have their
children be homeschooled. The religious exemptions and the belief in autism
exemptions have both been proven to be incorrect, so the people of the United

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States need to understand and realize that the only truly safe decision to make is
to vaccinate children.
As a conclusion, vaccines are safe, cost-efficient, and the easiest way to
avoid disease outbreak. This new law that requires all students who wish to
attend school be vaccinated is not only realistic, but a necessity to all of America.
The outbreaks of infectious diseases that occur in schools every single year will
decrease significantly with the implementation of the new law. With the
enforcement of a new policy that requires all students to have vaccines, lives will
be saved. In order to protect the people of the United States, vaccines are an
absolute necessity.

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Works Cited
"California State Vaccine Requirements." National Vaccine Information Center
(NVIC). National Vaccine Information Center, 22 Jan. 2016. Web. 11 Apr.
Grabenstein, John D. "What the World's Religions Teach, Applied to Vaccines and
Immune Globulins." Vaccine 31.16 (2013): 2011-023.Vaccine Safety Resource.
Elseveir, 26 Feb. 2013. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
"Health and Medicine Division." The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety.
National Academy of Sciences, 19 Aug. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.

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"Immunizations." Immunizations. American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016. Web. 10

Apr. 2016.
"Immunize for Good Benefits vs. Risks. Colorado Children's Immunization
Coalition, 2016. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
Kovaleski, Jennifer. Two Cases of Chickenpox at Denver School Means No Class for
Unvaccinated Kids. 7 Denver News. Scripps Media, Inc., 08 Feb. 2016. Web.
11 Apr. 2016.
Loving, Sarah. "Herd Immunity (Community Immunity)." Herd Immunity.
University of Oxford, 16 Nov. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
Measles Case Confirmed at Plano ISD School. WFAA. Tegna, 18 Jan. 2016. Web.
11 Apr. 2016.
"Study Linking Vaccine to Autism Is Called Fraud." The New York
Times Company, 06 Jan. 2011. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
"Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism." CDC and Prevention. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.

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