Opinion

Parents must take steps to protect children

An editorial from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — West Virginia kids are in trouble, and doctors say it is a lack of initiative on the part of parents that is to blame.

No other state has fewer young children with all recommended vaccinations. According to the 2015 National Immunization Survey, approximately one-third of Mountain State kids between the ages of one and three is missing at least one vaccine.

Why? Why would so many parents opt out of a crucial part of what keeps their kids – and the rest of the population – healthy?

Physicians say one of the problems is so many parents simply skipping well-child visits between the ages of 19 and 35 months. So, these kids are not only missing vaccinations, they are also missing check-ups and important groundwork for a lifetime of good health.

Excuses range from a lack of transportation and difficulty getting time off work, to buying into the insane claims of hoaxsters who have been proven to be lying about the alleged dangers of vaccines.

Whatever the reasons, those who do not get their child the necessary vaccines and check-ups during the toddler years are putting their kids in danger and weakening the herd immunity from deadly diseases for the rest of us.

“Everyone was scared to death of their child getting a cold because that could be whooping cough and their child might get brain damage or die,” pediatrician Dr. Joe Matusic told another media outlet. “So we don’t fear that anymore because we have these vaccines so it is just deathly important that you get your child these vaccines because these illnesses are still here.”

Parents owe it to their kids to take whatever steps they can to keep them healthy. There are far too many other ways for a child to become sick or injured for parents to also open them up to diseases that can easily be prevented.

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