By Rachel Schneider
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 667 cases of the measles and 1,151 cases of the mumps reported in 2014. While these statistics may seem insignificant to many, all it takes is one unvaccinated person to reintroduce a highly contagious and previously eradicated disease that is entirely preventable back into the general population. Due to these statistics and recently seen outbreaks across the country, New York State has instituted new protocols in our schools.
The new protocol requires that as of July 1, 2014, all high school age students be in compliance with the state’s new guidelines or they will not be allowed to attend school. The new guidelines adopted by the state are aligned with the national standards. While no new type of vaccinations are required, the dosage and the minimum time gap between doses changed. Previously only one dose of mumps and rubella and two doses of measles were necessary for school attendance, but now two doses of measles and mumps vaccines and one dose of rubella vaccine are required. School nurse Mrs. Suzanne Cutrone reported that she had to put in a lot of hard work as well as many extra hours to ensure that students had what the new regulations required. “Vaccines are extremely important to all,” said Mrs. Cutrone, who now feels better that our student body is well protected against these diseases.
Those students, who did not have the correct dosage of the necessary vaccinations, were sent back to their doctors. Sophomore Celine Macura said, “Luckily, I have already gotten these vaccines, but I see how it could be a pressing issue for others who had not. Doctor’s appointments need to be scheduled in advance, and that can be difficult for busy families.”
This new vaccination protocol will now be a step towards reducing the risk of students contracting these diseases as well as the general public.“I think that’s really good because it ensures the safety of me and all my friends,” freshman Hannah Kareff said.
However, these new rules only apply to students and no others in the school building. Senior Annabelle Golden said, “I disagree that this mandate should apply only to students. If the Department of Health’s primary goal through this measure is the functionality, livelihood, and safety of our schools and their population, then it would only serve that pursuit of all members of the school—students and faculty—received these preventative vaccinations.”
So the next question is whether a vaccination protocol for teachers and school personnel will be mandated.