Outbreak of measles not likely in Maryland

by Jackson Kinsey, Reporter

A recent outbreak of the measles in California has instilled fear in people all over the United States. This outbreak has caused concern and debate about the necessity for vaccination. While some parents choose to not get their children vaccinated for various reasons, others do not even know if their childre have been fully vaccinated against the measles. With over 100 reported cases in the last month, spreading as far as Pennsylvania and Michigan, the concern for students in Maryland has grown. Despite the rapid spread of this contagious disease, thought to have been eliminated from the country in 2000, it is highly unlikely that Lancers will be a hot zone.

The majority of measles cases  this year can be linked to the exposure of Measles at Disneyland. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the year 2014 had the highest number of reported cases since 1994. With more cases reported in 17 states, it is easy to worry over the possibility of a local outbreak. Maryland has not had a case of measles at all this year.

Vaccines for measles are up to 99% effective in protecting against the disease. This makes vaccines the best choice in protection from getting the measles. In Maryland, there is only 1% of the population without vaccinations. Abstaining from vaccinations is a risk to oneself and others.

One of these reason a parent might choose not to vaccinate a child is because it conflicts with one’s religion.  According to one anti-vaccination group, K.N.O.W., there are a number of connections between the teachings of the Bible and the use of vaccines.

Another reason that some exempt from vaccinations is for medical reasons. If a child has a weak immune system that will not defend against the weakened version of the disease if injected, the child can be legally exempt from vaccinations.

Jessica Earley, LHS school nurse, says that in Maryland children are required to have two vaccinations to start school, and “very few [students] do not have them because they have medical exemptions.”

Finally, some parents do not vaccinate their children because a now disproven study linking autism and vaccines.  The CDC and other major medical researchers have published several follow-up studies and research illustrating that original finding was not accurate.

What student knows his or her vaccination record? Many remember the scary feeling of receiving shots at the doctor’s office, but who remembers exactly what shots were given? Nobody carries a vaccination record around.

Senior Brad Pyne says, “Yeah, I am not completely sure if I have been vaccinated for the measles.”

There is a large outcry to keep unvaccinated students home from attending school. On one hand, parents fear for the health of their children when they are sent to attend school with unvaccinated students. On the other hand, many say that unvaccinated students deserve an education as well. Whether or not everyone believes in vaccinating children, vaccinations are proven to be incredibly effective against diseases like the measles.