Childrearing

I’m Totally Pro-Vaccine – But This Is Going A Little Too Far

By  | 

shutterstock_134842724__1365951749_70.118.110.28A kindergartner from Staten Island is being banned from attending classes because she hasn’t received the Varicella vaccine – a vaccine against chickenpox. I’m normally totally on the side of anyone pushing for vaccines – but this case is a little extreme.

Elizabeth Wagner, the mother of the child told the Staten Island Advance that her pediatrician won’t give the Varicella vaccine to any child living with an infant. The vaccine uses a live virus to inoculate against it, and her pediatrician believes it is not safe for an infant to be exposed.

Wagner also has an immunodeficiency disease that is hereditary. Her infant daughter could also have it which would leave her in increased danger of suffering from exposure to a live virus. Obviously, on the advice of her pediatrician, the mother is opting to wait to vaccinate her child. Her pediatrician sent a letter to the Department of Education requesting for her daughter to be exempt from the vaccination. The request was denied.

The Advance reports:

Ms. Wagner has spoken to other doctors. Some give the vaccine with a newborn at home and some do not. But she said if some don’t, she’s uneasy about giving it to her child, especially with the possibility of the immune disorder.

For now, her child is stuck at home – not by the mother’s choice. But she is being marked absent for everyday she doesn’t attend school. I am a staunch advocate for vaccinations – but I think the school needs to take special cases into consideration – especially considering the fact that the Varicella vaccination could be easily avoided if a parent claimed “religious reasons.” That just seems unfair.

All kids don’t have to go through the milestone of chickenpox anymore and that is fantastic. But isn’t the herd immunity of the rest of her class enough to exempt one child from skipping a vaccination for a short period of time, until her pediatrician deems it safe for her possibly immunity-compromised infant sibling? I think the school board may be overreacting just a little in this case.

(photo: Aleksandrs Samuilov/ Shutterstock.com)