As the holiday season comes upon us, so does another less joyful time of year: flu season.
The influenza virus, or flu, is a contagious disease that has become less of an issue because of vaccinations.
In a school setting, someone who isn’t vaccinated could easily obtain the virus from other students doing simple things like playing tag or bumping shoulders in the hallway.
It is in the school’s best interest to require flu vaccinations for all students to stop the spread of the disease and protect all the students and faculty from the disease.
According to pediatrics.about.com, since the 2003-2004 flu season there have been a total of 1,239 deaths of children ranging from six months to eighteen years old from the flu virus. That’s an average of about 113 deaths , per year. Those numbers were raised significantly by the 282 child deaths from the swine flu epidemic in the 2009-2010 flu season.
One of the arguments from people who are against vaccinations is that the vaccination gives them the flu virus, but according to school nurse Rachel Huertas “the flu virus is a dead virus so it wouldn’t be possible for a vaccination to give someone the disease.”
An easy way to help prevent people at school from contracting the virus is to receive a yearly flu vaccination from your local doctor or pediatrician. In the 2012-2013 flu season 90 percent of flu related deaths came from children who weren’t fully vaccinated. That number was 80 percent in the 2013-2014 flu season.
Schools in the state of New Jersey have already made flu vaccinations mandatory for all students.
Since it is hard for schools to force parents to give their children vaccinations, schools could add an extra day near the beginning of flu season to bring the students to school and give them the vaccinations and then make up the day at the end of the year.
Giving every student a vaccination would help stop the flu virus and protect students from the disease.