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Opinion

Flu shots raise concern

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October 16, 2019

In the United States, fall and winter are the most common times for contracting flu viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means vaccinations are on everyone’s minds. However, more and more people are deciding not to vaccinate. With a measles crisis arising, those who are against vaccinations, or anti-vaxxers, may want to reconsider their opposition.

Anti-vaxxers have different reasons as to why they choose not to vaccinate. A study done by Chephra McKee and Kristin Bohannan looks closer at these reasons. McKee and Bohannan found that people aren’t vaccinating because of religious beliefs. All except four states exempt vaccinations for this reason.

Muslims believe that vaccines are unacceptable because it contains pork-derived products. While other religions are unclear if they should support vaccines, the Catholic Church believes that vaccines are acceptable.

Another common reason why people aren’t vaccinating is because of personal beliefs. Parents believe that natural immunity is better for their children. Other parents think their children aren’t at risk for the disease. These parents don’t see the real threat of these preventable diseases.

The number of cases of measles was less than 100 in the past decade; this number has increased to over one thousand cases this year. New York has the most reported cases. More than 70% of the people in New York were unvaccinated.

To counteract the number of unvaccinated people, a new bill, called bill S2994A, was passed that ended personal conviction waivers. This way people who believe vaccinations are bad still have to receive them. This bill helps protect those who surround anti-vaxxers too.

Vaccinations are required to attend school, which causes fewer cases of measles in the United States. Since 2000, Minnesota has had 124 cases, which are mainly from importing the disease from other countries. Wisconsin has even fewer cases because of a high vaccination rate. To keep the number of  measles cases low, remember to get your vaccinations and encourage those close to you to do the same.

UW-River Falls offers free flu shots for students. This will be available Tuesday, Oct. 29, from noon to 2 p.m. in the Trimbelle Room 231 in the University Center. The clinics in town are also an option for getting a flu shot.

Abby Schwartzhoff is a student at UW-River Falls.