Teens Must Make Vaccination Decision

Erika Riedel, Co-Sports Editor

With our country on the brink of a measles epidemic because of the negligence of ill-informed parents, it is time for teens to step up and take matters into their own hands.

For years we have tolerated the anti-vax movement, a group who has dismissed the medical advice of thousands of qualified physicians.  Unfortunately, their negligence is now having dangerous results for everyone.

In 2000, ZERO cases of measles were transmitted in the United States and the disease was considered to be virtually eliminated. However, as a result of the new wave of anti-vaxers, there have since been 839 cases of measles reported as of 2019, according to the Center for Disease Prevention (CDC). The majority of these cases are the result of unvaccinated people.

We can no longer wait for these foolish few to be enlightened to the inventions of modern medicine. Instead, we need to make reforms that allow young people to take control of their health when their parents prove to be misguided and incompetent.

In many states such as Washington, Oregon, Louisiana, and Alaska, steps towards preventing wide-spread epidemic have already been implemented through legalizing the right for mature minors to be vaccinated without parental consent.

Coincidentally, it is the states who have failed to pass laws helping minors receive the medical support they are entitled to such as California, Washington D.C., and New York, where recent outbreaks of measles have reportedly occurred. While there is no statistical evidence linking the correlation between allowing minors to be vaccinated without parental consent and a drastic decrease of outbreaks for preventable diseases, it is safe to say that if such measures are passed, it will do far more good than harm for society.

Those who refuse to have their children vaccinated are negligent parents and negligent members of society. Exceptions must be made to allow the children of these irresponsible adults to make their own decisions.

In 2019, after refusing to give their 3-year-old son chemotherapy treatment for leukemia and using an “alternative” form of treatment (CBD oil, alkaline water, mushroom tea, and herbal extracts), parents Joshua McAdams and Taylor Bland-Ball lost custody and the government directed the child to be put back on chemotherapy. If the government can take a child into custody for not receiving treatment for cancer, why can’t they do something similar to prevent deadly contagious diseases?

Vaccines need to be taken just as seriously as any life-saving medical treatment, rather than just an optional precautionary measure.

The vaccination debate isn’t political or a personal attack, it is purely about whether or not we want disease to run rampant and decimate the population. What is the point of developing technology and devoting resources to medical research if we don’t even use it? The only logical way to stop this anti-vaccination movement is to give teens a voice once and for all.