Saturday, January 31, 2015

How About a Measles-Free Campus?

Editorial comment from yours truly: It's not that long ago that UCLA became a smoke-free campus.  I don't recall any exceptions for those folks who read on the internet somewhere that what "they" say about smoking being bad for you wasn't true.  I don't recall any exceptions or exemptions being granted for those whose "personal beliefs" didn't accord with the smoking ban.  No one who wants to smoke is forced to come to UCLA for health care, classes, or any other service.  There are other medical centers and other universities.  Part of the rationale for the UCLA tobacco ban was to protect those on campus from the risks of second-hand smoke.

Some K-12 school principals in California have already banned students without measles shots from attending their schools for an extended period.  They have done so to protect other students and employees at their schools.  Perhaps UCLA - given its prominent role in medical research and treatment - should consider a similar ban on those who refuse vaccinations.

I know.  You're going to want to tell me about rules about emergency room admissions, etc.  But the bells and whistles of such a ban can be worked out to deal with such rules.  I know.  If you have a libertarian streak, you're going to want to tell me about your right to do whatever you like.  But the essence of libertarianism is that you can do what you like, so long as you don't hurt someone else.

Note that most college students are of an age where they can make their own medical decisions, whatever their parents may choose to believe about vaccines.  A requirement that students and others get measles shots (or show proof of immunity) and get other basic vaccinations (with very narrow medical and religious exceptions), would sure get media attention, just as the smoking ban did.  The same rationale applies to the vaccine issue as applied to the smoking ban.  Why should members of the UCLA community be put at risk because of someone's "personal beliefs" about vaccines?

UPDATE: Glad to see today that UCLA moving slowly in the direction above:
But why do we have to wait until 2017, as the article at the link above indicates? ...Both Stanford University and USC require students to have two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine before enrolling. At Yale University, undergraduate students must have the MMR, chickenpox and meningococcal vaccines and a tuberculosis skin test before arriving at the university. Princeton University requires students to have the Hepatitis B, MMR, meningococcal and Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis, or Tdap, vaccines...

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