How LA, Calling for Injections on School Vaccination Mission, Can Lead by Living Rules

On March 31, 1977, as a measles outbreak swept through Los Angeles, the county health department issued an ultimatum to the parents of 1.6 million students in the county: Get your child vaccinated within a month. Or keep them at home.

The “no shooting, no learning” warning was a new threat at the time. Since the 1920s – and smallpox – no major city in the United States has banned students from being immunized.

The threat – voiced most clearly by Dr Shirley Fannin, who the Los Angeles Times describes as “an energetic, no-nonsense doctor” in charge of infectious disease control – brought results back. About 40,000 students in the district were excluded – sent home or forced to sit in lecture halls all day. Within a week most were vaccinated. The epidemic has killed two children, caused brain damage in five and sent many people to the hospital with pneumonia and exhaustion.

By demonstrating that the public would approve of school’s strict enforcement of vaccine regulations, the LA school system has had a powerful influence on the country. chairperson Jimmy Carter Debuts a national initiative to vaccinate all children against measles and other recommended vaccines. Federal health officials have twisted their arms, prompting each state to reluctantly tighten their vaccination regulations. By 1981, 95% of American schoolchildren had received recommended vaccines. Over the next two decades, the United States virtually eliminated diseases such as polio, rubella, measles, and tetanus.

The Los Angeles Unified School District announced in September that it would be excluding students 12 years of age and older from campus on January 10 unless they receive the covid-19 vaccine. However, on Friday, the district decided to suspend enforcement until next fall, according to school board member Jackie Goldberg. About 28,000 children – about 14% – still have no evidence of vaccination, she said. Providing those children with teachers for online learning would leave vaccinated children at some schools without proper instruction and “that would not be fair.”

Goldberg, who grew up in the Inglewood neighborhood of Los Angeles, is troubled by vaccine hesitancy. She recalls the 1977 measles outbreak: “We were terrified. The children are dying slowly,” she said. At the time, many Angelenos did not receive health care, and the county’s free vaccination clinics were seen as a gift rather than what some consider today – an imposition.

Before that, vaccination rates in Los Angeles were low for two reasons: People with low incomes could not afford or have access to vaccines, and many people ignored the risk of measles, considering the disease This is a normal part of childhood for most children. unaffected permanently. In general, some are opposed to vaccines, but “they are considered inappropriate, and there are very few of them,” says Dr. Peter Krause, a Yale University epidemiologist who has worked About a measles outbreak on the UCLA campus in 1977, said that in the 1990s, only about 0.5% of children in California were exempt from vaccine requirements because their parents opposed or Don’t trust vaccinations.

What was different then? Of course there is no social network. And partisan politics played no role in vaccination rates. Dr. James Cherry, 91, who has taught in UCLA’s pediatric infectious disease department since 1973, cannot recall meeting any anti-vaccination Republicans during the 1977 pandemic. find it remarkable to hear Govs. Greg Abbott in Texas and Ron DeSantis in Florida fight missions to stop a virus killed more than 790,000 Americans.

He told me, “This just messes with my thinking. “Measles is bad, bad for many reasons, but measles is much worse. And we can prevent almost all deaths by vaccination. “

Today, the clever use of social media by anti-vaccination activists has exposed the vulnerability of vaccination efforts. The Department of Public Health is understaffed and overwhelmed by work and attacks of vitriol and violence. And fighting endemic infectious diseases has never been easy.

But now, politics seems to be messier than the epidemic, let alone the vaccine. Conflicts over covid vaccination missions could flare outward to threaten long-lived vaccination missions for the worst still deadly diseases and costly nuisances.

Rejection of masks and the mandate to vaccinate have become an integral part of many Americans’ identities, providing the basis for GOP politicians to react.

Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), who has fought for state law to close a loophole that opponents of the use of vaccines to avoid vaccinating against childhood diseases, remains hopeful. will actually succeed. However, the process may be more like public consensus than the angry majority turning against the antiscientists.

“People will feel frustrated, tired of the persistence of these illnesses, and there will be more pressure on the public over mandates,” he said. “The question is, ‘How many people will die in the process?'”

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