Prevent mumps on campus; get vaccinated

Royal Purple Staff Opinion

Oct. 6, 2015

After six cases of mumps were confirmed on UW-Whitewater’s campus, it’s time for us to make a point about vaccinations: Getting yourself and your children vaccinated is a civic responsibility, not a personal choice.

It ought to be required across the country that everyone attending public schools be up-to-date with their vaccinations, regardless of personal or religious beliefs.

While it is still possible to be infected with a disease like mumps after receiving an MMR vaccination, the risk is much higher in those who are unvaccinated.

But this isn’t just about your personal risk, this is about the entire campus population – the world population, for that matter.

In order for vaccinations to be effective, populations need to achieve a “herd immunity.” Herd immunity is attained when a high percentage of a population is vaccinated for a disease.

Experts say that to eradicate diseases like mumps and measles, our population’s herd immunity needs to be over 90 percent.

But, not everyone is physically able to get vaccinated. Infants, the elderly and the terminally ill have inferior immune systems, sometimes making them unable to receive vaccines. It’s our responsibility, our civic duty to get vaccinated in order to protect, not only ourselves, but also these minority groups.

Despite what Donald Trump, Rand Paul or Jim Carrey have to say about a link between vaccinations and autism, such a link has been disproven in multiple studies. One of the largest, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002, concluded that there is no link between autism and vaccinations.

Short of dropping out of the election, boneheads like Trump and Paul would benefit all of society if they would stop spreading pseudo-scientific claims that have no factual basis. Carrey could do the same by shutting his self-righteous trap and ridding the United States of all copies of “Dumb and Dumber To.”

It just doesn’t make sense that our society is so preoccupied with the potential negative side effects of vaccines when diseases previously believed to be eradicated since 2000 are popping up all over the country. Anti-vaccine sentiments are going to cause a real-life epidemic, and those infected with mumps will be sick, puffy-cheeked and in a lot of discomfort.

Mumps is a viral disease that causes swelling in the salivary glands, hence the puffy cheeks. While symptoms usually reside after a few weeks, sometimes complications can be serious.

The disease is spread through saliva in the air, so cover your mouth when you cough, sneeze or accidently partake in an awkward combination of the two.

Also, until the campus is cleared, stop making out with strangers at the bar – maybe wash your hands more instead. You can manage for a few weeks; we have faith in you. 

If you don’t have your MMR vaccine, we understand that there’s something inherently scary about walking into the doctor’s office – especially anticipating that needle, but you’ll be okay.

In fact, it’ll probably go something like this:

You’ll walk in the clinic and take a seat in the waiting room. A few minutes later, after flipping through a 6-month-old copy of Good Housekeeping (your fantasy season is over, put Sports Illustrated down), a nurse will pop her head out from the abyss of backrooms. “We’re all ready for you back here,” she’ll say, just a little too friendly.

Then you’ll get back to the doctor’s office. The smell of antiseptic, the eggshell-white wallpaper, that stupid painting of the guy in the rowboat – it might feel like too much to handle.

Then a mustachioed doctor (with very cold hands) will make some awkward small talk, prepare a vaccine, prick you with a needle and inject you with trace amounts of a disease.

It sounds daunting, but in a fraction of a second you’ll have protected yourself and all of campus from a potentially life-threatening disease. Go you.   

Print Friendly, PDF & Email