MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. With the first day of school just around the corner, many parents in the Mt. Pleasant area are faced with the hot topic issue of vaccinations for their children. Although New York State requires vaccinations in children for multiple diseases before they enter school, exemptions can be obtained for reasons such as medical conditions or religious beliefs.
Pleasantville resident Nelle Stokes is concerned that certain diseases are on the rise again but that vaccinations should be done on a case by case basis.
"I think it's an issue because certain diseases like the whooping cough that a lot of people thought was nonexistent for a while seems to have a lot of cases in children and I think that relates to the amount of children that are vaccinated," Stokes said. "But in the end I feel it depends on what is best for the child and the family."
Earlier this year, California endured the largest whooping cough outbreak in 65 years, sickening almost 9,500 people and killing 10 infants. So far this year, there have been more cases of measles in the United States than any year since 1996.
Vaccinated children develop immunities without suffering from the diseases the vaccines prevent. However, some parents believe there are links between the vaccine preservative, thimerosal, and autism.
There have been studies conducted by health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control , the Food and Drug Administration , and the Institute of Medicine and the World Health Organization that have failed to show any causal link between the two, however some parents believe there is enough anecdotal evidence to support their concerns.
Ann Marie Keinz has children that are grown now and were vaccinated at a young age. The Thornwood resident believes everyone else should do the same.
"I think the children have a greater risk of acquiring some sort of disease if they're not vaccinated than if they are," Keinz said. "I have zero regrets vaccinating my children."
Vaccines, responsible for the control of such infectious scourges as polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), prevent those diseases in people who receive them, as well as those who come into contact with unvaccinated people.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.