Vaccination Policies in Dubuque
DUBUQUE – It’s something we’ve all been told over and over again: wash your hands, don’t share drinks, and get a good amount of sleep. While these are all good tips for fighting off common illnesses we come into contact with on a daily basis, they don’t work for some of the stronger and uncommon illnesses, such as the measles, which requires the MMR vaccination. Some children, however, do not get this vaccine. Can these children still attend school?
“Dubuque follows the Iowa State law in regards to vaccinations, which requires kids to be vaccinated when they start school unless they have a medical or religious exemption,” Mike Cyze, Director of School and Community Relations explains.
Cyze says that in the whole public school system, about one percent of students aren’t vaccinated. Holy Family said that they have some students who are not vaccinated as well. The Iowa Department of Public Health has procedures in place for these students. If there were to be an outbreak of an illness in the area, then students who are not vaccinated would have to abstain from school to prevent the spreading of the illness.
What happens to these un-vaccinated children when they grow up and go to college and are living in close quarters with hundreds of other students?
Tammy Marti, Director of Health and Wellness at Loras College says that students are required to turn in an official document stating that they have had their two MMR vaccinations, and even students who aren’t vaccinated can live in residence halls.
“Students are allowed to live here, but if we would have an outbreak of the measles, mumps, or germ and measles rubella then they would have to leave,” Tammy says.
Students who haven’t had their vaccinations are given information on them so they can make an informed decision for themselves if they would like to receive vaccinations. If they still do not wish to or do not provide a document showing they’ve had them, they have to sign a declination form stating they will leave campus if there were to be an outbreak.
An unconfirmed case of meningitis at Loras is shedding even more light on vaccinations.
“We were notified that preliminary results suggest [it], but I have had no confirmation or any other lab tests,” Tammy said on the potential case.
The meningitis vaccine is not required at Loras, but is highly recommended to students.
The case is making students on campus think about how vaccinations can directly affect them.
Julien Gonzalez, a first-year student, believes that everyone should get their vaccinations, stating, “being at a school where there is 300 people living in one building and sharing bathrooms and stuff like that, I mean all these diseases can get around through anything.”
Brendan Doyle, also a first-year student, believes vaccinations are good, but that, “you can’t force vaccinations on someone.”