Vaccinations are a touchy subject for many parents, but it’s safe to say no one wants their kids to get chickenpox. This is why a Michigan school district is forcing unvaccinated kids to stay home during a recent outbreak.
Apparently, more than 35 students who attend Traverse City Area Public Schools were asked to stay home for the next 21 days, following a recommendation by the County Health Department after eight students contracted the illness, according to local paper Traverse City Record Eagle. These students, however, are allowed to return to school if they get immunized before the 21 day period ends. The catch is if another kid develops chickenpox, the 21 day wait starts over again.
While parents were required to sign vaccine waivers at the beginning of the academic year stating that public health officials have the right to exclude students from classes as a “disease control measure,” many parents are outraged. Some have even went to social media to air their anger. One mom wrote on the WWMT Facebook page:
“It’s the chicken pox! No big deal! Better for them to get it now than when they’re older. Making them stay out of school for 21 days or vaccinate (which can just spread it around more) is silly and a way to try to get at those that don’t vaccinate.”
While chicken may not seem like a big deal anymore, since it’s less prevalent now, it’s actually pretty serious. Before the vaccine existed, there were about 4 million incidents of chickenpox a year, resulting in 30,000 hospitalizations and 150 deaths, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Since the vaccine has been established, there have only been 400,000 cases per year, with 8 deaths. Still not a tiny number, but considerable in comparison.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with the school’s policy? Chime in in the comments below.