Vital vaccines in a vivacious environment: meningitis and hepatitis on the rise

Kate Rogers and Jess Hess

With celebrities openly disregarding the benefits of immunization, it seems to have become a popular social media trend to follow in their footsteps.
However, these celebrities are not stuck dealing with the world of public schooling, where teenagers sneeze without covering, stick gum under desks, and avoid the sink in the restroom.
At Perry Meridian, vaccines are required unless the student has a waiver or religious exemption. According to Perry nurse, Mandy Martin, teachers are required to get the vaccines in order to work at the school. So, why wouldn’t students?
“I feel like a lot of the vaccines are for things that haven’t been around for many years,” says fellow Perry Meridian nurse, Laura McIntire, adding, “Should those ailments make their way into the country, anybody who isn’t vaccinated is susceptible to getting that disease, which puts people at risk.”
Seniors are required to receive the Meningitis vaccine and the Hepatitis A vaccine, both of which are completely preventable if the proper precautions are taken. This is the first year in which the Hepatitis A vaccine is required.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana has about 20 cases of Hepatitis A each year. That number has increased, with Indiana having 364 cases since November 1, 2017. In local terms, Marion county alone has had 9 individual cases of Hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A is the inflammation of the liver, a potentially deadly condition. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, cola-colored urine, and jaundice.
Meningitis is even more dangerous, but less widely spread. The National Meningitis association says that while Meningitis is at an all time low, it’s due to the expanse of Meningococcal vaccinations.
Although it is less common, of all who get infected, 10 to 15 percent die. Even if they survive, 20 percent have remaining disabilities, like brain damage, hearing loss, and possible limb amputations.
Meningitis is the inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, and symptoms include headache, fever, and a stiff neck. headache, fever, and a stiff neck.
The lesson here is to get vaccinated. No one wants to live with a debilitating sickness for the rest of his or her life, particularly when it could have have been prevented.
Senior Gracee Dale says, “I think the decision should be left to the parent,” as she drives to school knowing she’s met the deadline for receiving her vaccines, which is August 20.
“I think they’re needed, because without them our immune systems would…” She takes a moment to think. “Crash and burn. We’re so used to vaccinations and we’ve evolved from being reliant on just our environment to being reliant on synthetic environment.”
Her opinion on parents being mandated to get their children vaccinated is mixed: “If you’re not getting them vaccinated… you’re allowing your child to get sick,” she adds, “but religious exemption is a valid reason.”
Another valid reason not to get vaccinated is allergic reaction, like anaphylaxis which occurs when the skin or immune system is hypersensitive to a certain organism or chemical. These students are not required to have their vaccines.
The Indiana Health Department provides an assortment of vaccines, ranging from free to $20. The repercussions of not getting shots, or children not getting their shots, is not only dangerous to students but also to anyone else possibly susceptible to that disease.
Senior Sydney McGaha noted she doesn’t have the vaccine yet, but her appointment is scheduled.
“I’m terrified of needles, but I know that I’m safe because before I go to my appointment, I ask him (the doctor) all of the questions I need to; I also search him up on the internet beforehand,” she said.
Unless there’s a valid reason not to get vaccinated, please get them.
It’s scary to think of possibly being exposed to Hepatitis A right now because of not having received shots yet.
Perry Meridian high school urges any student who wants to return to school beyond August 20 to get vaccinated. Students who are unable to get their vaccines by that date must inform the nurse’s office when your appointment is. Regardless, no one is safe from unprecedented disease; taking care of yourself is nothing to be ashamed of.