To The Editor:
On February 19th, I testified in front of the Public Health Committee in favor of repealing non-medical exemptions to vaccinating our public-school children. This is an issue of great concern for me and for many people in the state who have loved ones who are vulnerable to infection and illness.
This is our story: My child attends public school in Bristol. She is a cancer survivor who is and will always be immunocompromised. It is easy for her to catch illnesses from others. When this happens, she becomes very sick, very quickly and it is hard for her to recover. She often ends up in the hospital. Recently, she caught the flu and was hospitalized for two weeks. It nearly killed her. She is not the only one. Across the state and our country, there are many who are vulnerable. The presence of unvaccinated and under-vaccinated people in our public spaces increases their risk of death and disease. There is a clear and overwhelming benefit to requiring immunizations for children who attend our public schools.
By increasing the number of immunized people in our presence, we are all safer and we vastly reduce the amount of money that is spent on medical costs. Vaccines are safe. There is no scientific, medical evidence to say otherwise.
There is a tremendous privilege inherent in choosing to delay or skip vaccinations for well children. I do not know of a single cancer mom or dad who is against compulsory vaccinations. I am certain that if a person opposed to vaccinations had an immunocompromised child, their priorities would change in a heartbeat.
In short, I believe that a person who wishes to enroll their children in our public schools should be required to vaccinate them so that they do not pose undue harm to their classmates and teachers.