Flu vaccinations required in schools nationwide

Isabel Tiller, BHS Journalism

All 50 states and Washington DC require vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles and rubella. The chickenpox vaccine is required by 48 states and Washington DC as well. This is done to keep the students healthy and safe, protecting children from bringing illnesses to their home as well. The effects of these illnesses are horrendous.

But aren’t the effects of the seasonal influenza, or the flu, just as terrible? Side effects include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, fatigue and even vomiting. The flu can also create gateways for life threatening illnesses, such as pneumonia, to take advantage the weak immune system. The flu has an appetite for the elderly, pregnant, and young.

Children bring all sorts of illnesses, such as the extremely contagious flu, to and from home and yet nothing is done to prevent children from getting sick. Flu shots are not required by state, choosing to not prevent this life-threatening sickness. As a result, children spread this illness among friends, family, the elderly, and even strangers when they had a chance to prevent themselves from getting sick in the first place.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, flu antibodies in the vaccine develop and provide protection in just two weeks. Every flu season is different, so new vaccinations are always being created and presented around October. These shots are affordable and easy to get.

Flu vaccinations should be required in all states each year to create a healthy environment in schools. Having a healthy and safe environment for children is key. They are not only more likely to get severely sick and our future, but it keeps the home environment healthy and safe as well, allowing the flu to spread less easily. According to the CDC, in 2015 128 deaths from the flu were reported. Flu-associated deaths total up to 49,000 since 1976.

The flu is a serious illness, which if not treated, can become deadly. Flu vaccinations can help prevent the flu from spreading and claiming more victims, if only schools, the most contaminated place for children and for us high school students, would be required by the state to have each student receive an annual flu shot. They are easily accessible and affordable, and can help keep our children healthy and safe.

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