Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsOpinion
(Page 2 of 2)

Op-Ed

Public health: Not vaccinated? Not acceptable

What should we do about people who decline vaccination for themselves or their children and put the public at risk by fueling the resurgence of nearly eradicated diseases?

July 18, 2011|By David Ropeik

• Perhaps it should be harder to opt out of vaccination. (Twenty-one states allow parents to decline vaccination of their children simply for "philosophical" reasons; 48 allow a religious exemption, but few demand documentation from parents to support claims that their faith precludes vaccination.)

• Perhaps there should be higher healthcare and insurance costs for unvaccinated people, or "healthy behavior" discounts for people who do get vaccinated, paid for from what society saves by avoiding the spread of disease.

• There could be restrictions on the community and social activities in which unvaccinated people can participate, like lengthy school trips for kids, etc.

This is not about creating more government to intrude further into our lives. This is about calling on government to do what it's there for in the first place: to protect us from the actions of others when as individuals we can't protect ourselves. It is appropriate, and urgent, that we act to protect public health from those whose choices about vaccines are putting the rest of us at risk: We make them stop.

David Ropeik is an instructor at Harvard University and the author of "How Risky Is It, Really? Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|