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Residents give a range of opinions on mandatory vaccines

December 01, 2011|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Dyer
Dyer

Hagerstown residents offered mixed reactions Tuesday when asked their opinion of whether children should be exempt from certain vaccines.

A report by The Associated Press said a growing number of youngsters were skipping school shots in more than half of U.S. states.

Carol Dyer, 63, said she is a registered nurse and supports vaccines for children.

"I am for any kind of prevention that you can give and take or receive," she said. "I also think it's the parent's choice, but I do believe if there's a chance of mandating it, it should be mandated."

Teri Schooley, 55, said she thought certain vaccines should be mandated for children by the government, but others should be the parents' choice.

"Vaccines for basic things like the measles, mumps, smallpox and chicken pox should be required because they are so dangerous," she said. "But the HPV vaccine and the flu shot should be left up to the parents because those have not been proven as effective yet."

According to Tuesday's published report, more than one in 20 public-school kindergarten students do not get all of the vaccines required for attendance in eight states.

Ricky Harrington, 45, said he was against a government mandate on vaccines for children, and he said he was not sure how effective vaccines are.

"I have an autistic 10-year old son, and I think it's because of the vaccines we gave him," he said. "I think this is a big cover-up. Nobody, the government or doctors, wants to take responsibility for the problems that could come from vaccines."

Jay Hartley, 19, said he also thought vaccines should not be mandated for children.

"It could be useful, but to force somebody to do it is wrong," he said. "Decisions like that should be left up to the parents."

Robert McDonald said he supported vaccines for children based on his own experiences.

"When I was in the Navy, we had to get our vaccines, so I don't know why it would hurt children," he said. "I don't think it should be mandated, but I'm sure children would be protected if they got their vaccines."

D.J. McCoy, 36, said he was not sure whether vaccines should be mandated, but added he did not see any harm in vaccines for children.

"We were given (vaccines) when we were children, and I don't see any harmful side effects," he said. "A mandate would be nice if it would protect other children from getting something."

Elizabeth Miller said she used to be a teacher in Chambersburg, Pa., and children should not be exempt from vaccines because a contagious disease could become a threat to everybody around them.

"If you don't vaccinate children, then other segments of society and even children themselves will be hurt," she said. "Vaccines should be required for the basic childhood diseases."

James Beall, 48, said he also supported a mandate on vaccines for children because of how contagious a disease can be.

"Nobody should have to be exposed to things that are curable," he said. "Why put other kids at risk because some parents aren't thinking rationally."

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