Vaccination Is Not Simply Matter of Health
Why Some People Stop Vaccination and Education.
DepEd said that in its review of the proposal, it will take into consideration whether such a policy would breach children’s right of access to education. This right, however, is not absolute. On the grounds of public safety and the protection of others’ rights, limiting unvaccinated children’s right of access to education is justified.
Such a policy, however, should be complemented with measures to improve access to vaccination services, to institute effective reminder and recall systems, and to rebuild parents’ trust and confidence in vaccination.
Herd immunity: Protecting the vulnerable
Vaccination is not simply a matter of individual health but one of public health. Simply put, the more people who are immunized against a certain disease, the less chance there will be of an outbreak of that disease. When the disease cannot infect enough hosts to be able to establish a foothold, it will eventually be eradicated. This is what is called “herd immunity.”
Herd immunity is particularly important given that there is always some part of the population that cannot be vaccinated, such as people with severe allergies and compromised immune systems. These people are especially vulnerable to infection, but if the disease cannot make its way to them because of a highly vaccinated population, then these vulnerable people can be adequately protected. Vaccination is very important.
Children who are unvaccinated (without valid health reasons) pose a threat to herd immunity in school communities, which compromises public safety and endangers people who are vulnerable to infection through no fault of their own. This provides sufficient grounds to refuse these unvaccinated children from entering the school community.
A “no vaccination, no enrollment” policy by itself, however, does not get to the root of the problem. In order to do so, we need to know why the vaccination rate is so low in the first place.
Why do people not take vaccination?
The DOH Monthly Surveillance Report for Vaccine Preventable Diseasesincludes data on reasons for non-vaccination among confirmed measles cases. This is a valuable starting point for policymakers to craft a comprehensive plan of action.