I promised that I would keep you posted on what I have now termed the “Maryland Vaccination Round-Up.”

From what I have now read, I have determined that the threats of arrest are only against parents of students in the public school system who have either not had their children vaccinated or do not have their children’s immunizations up-to-date.

Doctors have come out against the vaccination round-up, saying that it violates parental rights and places children in the precarious position of being treated like cattle, rather than being carefully examined by a physician and determining the best treatment (being to vaccinate or not vaccinate) for that particular child.

Children in Prince George’s County schools must be immunized against several childhood illnesses, including polio, mumps and measles. As of recently, children through high-school age are required to be immunized against hepatitis B and chicken pox.

A hepatitis B vaccine to attend public schools? Frightening.

I mentioned in my previous post that my children will never, never, never attend a public school, so I’m not terribly concerned about being tossed in jail for not vaccinating my child (although we have decided to vaccinate), but I’m a little troubled by the required chicken pox vaccine. Here’s what I read today about this fairly new vaccine:

Varicella [chicken pox] kills about 100 Americans per year, making this illness the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death in this country. Eighty percent of the children who die were previously healthy children.

An average case of varicella brings 250 to 500 itchy pox to each patient. Bacterial infections of the pox are the most common complication of this disease. But varicella can also lead to pneumonia and rare, but very serious, brain dysfunction. The rates of complications increase with age; adults and teens with varicella have 10 to 20 times the complication rate as children. Still, of the 11,000 patients that need to be hospitalized each year with varicella complications, almost half are children…

No very serious side effects [with the chicken pox vaccine] have yet been proven. A mild, local reaction at the site of the injection is seen in about 20 percent of recipients and a fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit is seen in about 15 percent. Three to four percent of vaccines get a varicella-like rash at the injection site or elsewhere.

This vaccine should not routinely be given to children with weakened immune systems, cancer, those on steroid medications, or those who are pregnant.

In Japan, studies have shown the immunity to varicella generated by the vaccine to last at least 20 years. If the response to this vaccine is similar to the body’s response to other well-known vaccines, such as Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Polio, protection should probably last a lifetime.

(source: babyzone.com)

Here’s my question: is it better to give my child a vaccine to protect against a fairly mild illness (killing only 100 Americans per year), or do I let him get the illness thereby ensuring that he will not get the illness again when he’s older? As stated above, the vaccine is proven to last 20 years and possibly a lifetime if reaction is similar to that of other vaccines. If, however, one gets the chicken pox, he is immune forever. Although the virus that causes chicken pox can lay dormant in the body and cause shingles later in life, the chicken pox vaccine does not ensure that the individual will not develop shingles. So what’s the point?

It seems to me that the Prince George’s County school system could be encouraging a future deadly outbreak of the chicken pox in adults which is known to be more dangerous than chicken pox in children.

While I’m concerned about the idea of parents being jailed for opting not to vaccinate their children (or just being too darn lazy to do so), I have to say that this is simply what happens when you give the government control of your children’s education. You give them an inch, and they take a mile…and then they throw you in jail.